A large group of Illinois State supporters, students, staff and alumni gathered for an event many years in the making, as Illinois State University held the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Indoor Practice Facility on the grass practice field north of Horton Field House.

The event began with members of the Big Red Marching Machine playing the University fight song and the Illinois State cheer and dance squads leading the crowd in celebration. Vice President for University Advancement Pat Vickerman then took the stage to welcome the crowd in attendance and serve as emcee during the event. 

The crowd in attendance then heard comments from Illinois State University’s president, Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy, Director of Athletics Kyle Brennan, Board of Trustees representative Dr. Bob Navarro ’91, M.S. ’93, Ph.D. ’02, lead donors Dee Miller, Sheila Marshall-Miller ’93, and BJ Bello, and Illinois State quarterback Zack Annexstad. The event culminated with the speakers breaking ground in a ceremony complete with Redbird hard hats and gold shovels.

The Illinois State University Board of Trustees authorized the Athletics Department to proceed with design, bidding, construction, and financing of the Indoor Practice Facility during a special meeting held on campus on Dec. 12, 2021. 

The Indoor Practice Facility will be a heated, opaque dual-membrane fabric air dome with insulation pockets for planned year-round use. The facility will be built in the location of the current football practice field directly north of Horton Field House. A 100-yard practice football field will feature a single end zone with run off areas and artificial turf to match the current surface at Hancock Stadium. 

The facility will be open to all Redbird teams, and when construction is complete, will ease congestion for ISU teams currently using Horton Field House as an indoor practice area.  The goal is to complete in spring 2023.