Bankers Life Fieldhouse refurbishment diverts 80% of landfill waste

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Bankers Life Fieldhouse gets a makeover. Construction crews are hard at work gutting and renovating the downtown arena as part of the second phase of a $ 360 million transformation.

But the old and discarded materials that come out of the Fieldhouse are also coming back to life. The project naturally produces a lot of waste, but the Pacers franchise plans to divert up to 80% of it from the landfill, or nearly 3,000 tonnes.

The current phase of the project began this spring and will be completed by the time the Indiana Pacers basketball season resumes in the fall. Indiana Fever, the Pacers’ counterpart team currently in season, played at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds.

In the first phase of the renovation, teams redesigned the seats in the stadium’s lower bowl, added an Indiana Fever locker room and weight center, and redesigned the training ground, among other changes. During the current phase, teams are redesigning the main lobby and the entrance to the Fieldhouse, as well as other seats in the stadium.

Upon completion of the project, there will be a new terrace and a new upper deck on the west balcony and the Fieldhouse will have a plaza with a basketball court in the summer and an ice rink in the winter, as well as public green spaces and an area for events.

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When complete, the $ 360 million renovation of the Bankers Life Fieldhouse will include a plaza with a summer basketball court and a public green space.

At $ 360 million, the project is a massive effort to modernize the 1998 stadium and improve the participant experience, said Danny Lopez, vice president of external relations and communications for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

“The goal is to create an experience that people just can’t miss,” said Lopez, “whether you’re a die-hard Pacers fan or coming for a gig.”

This is not the only priority, however.

Lori Miser, vice president of engineering and construction for the project, said recycling all possible materials was a major goal of the project.

“We’ve always supported sustainability. It’s important, we want to maximize our resources, we sure don’t want to waste things, we want to be kind to the Earth,” Miser said. “That might be the biggest impact from a recycling point of view that we could have, you know, unless we tear down and start over, which isn’t very sustainable at all.”

About 80% of the waste from the $ 360 million Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovation will be diverted to landfill.  This represents nearly 3,000 tonnes of concrete, metals and plastic.

Recycled materials from the project include approximately 110,660 pounds of steel and 840,000 pounds of concrete from the Maryland Avenue parking lot that was dismantled to make room for renovation. Also coming from inside the Fieldhouse, approximately 187 tons of concrete, 379 tons of iron and steel and 12 tons of other metals such as copper and aluminum are sent for recycling.

These materials are easy to recycle with a lot of demand. Stadium seats, on the other hand, are a bit more delicate. That’s why the Pacers franchise hired RecycleForce, an Indianapolis-based company that employs formerly incarcerated people, to get rid of these hard-to-recycle items.

RecycleForce will receive nearly 4,000 stadium seats through the renovation, amassing approximately 33,000 pounds of plastic and 42,800 pounds of steel in total.

Because they are made of a mixed plastic, the chairs are difficult to recycle and often get thrown away, said Gregg Keesling, president of RecycleForce. RecycleForce separates the plastic from the steel components of the stadium seats, then ships it to Brightmark, a facility in northern Indiana that purchases hard-to-recycle plastics and converts them into ultra-low sulfur diesel and wax. industrial.

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Brightmark partnered with RecycleForce in late 2019, pledging to purchase at least 1,700 tonnes of plastics per month from the company, in part to support its mission to provide work for those recently released from prison.

Keesling acknowledges the concerns of some that turning plastics into fuel and wax could encourage companies to continue producing plastic. But he stresses that the materials need to be disposed of and that recycling is a way to keep them out of the landfill.

“Our job is to divert from the dump. And so we were able to hijack something, ”Keesling said. “Business leaders are starting to think about (recycling) these kinds of products that they maybe haven’t talked about before. “

About 80% of the waste from the $ 360 million Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovation will be diverted to landfill.  This represents nearly 3,000 tonnes of concrete, metals and plastic.

Few companies are doing what RecycleForce does, and the company has grown in recent years – even handling major plastic product recalls across the country, Keesling says – while providing jobs for hundreds of people. coming out of prison.

The company’s mission is part of what drew the Pacers franchise to RecycleForce in the first place, Miser said.

“We think what they are doing is very important,” she said. “They are definitely an intentional and strong partner.”

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Keesling said taking the Pacers’ stadium seats was an easy and efficient project and that he would be happy to work with more stadiums in the future. In fact, he said, he hopes others will see this effort and follow suit.

“I think that’s the most interesting part of partnering with an organization like the Pacers who are so well known to everyone and loved by almost everyone,” Keesling said. “This has been the excitement of it, and now we’re hoping other business leaders will see what they’ve been up to.”

Contact IndyStar London reporter Gibson at 317-419-1912 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @londongibson.

Connect with IndyStar environmental journalists: Join The Scrub on Facebook.

IndyStar’s environmental reporting project is made possible by the generous support of the non-profit Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.



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