INDIANA, PA-The long-planned Indiana Regional Convocation Center has been given a jump start and a new name in honor of the locally based Kovalchick family, which has pledged to provide a minimum of 10% of the Indiana Initiative, a $20-million fund-raising campaign for the project. The full development cost is estimated at $41 million, and the Initiative is matching a commitment of $20 million provided in 2003 by former Gov. Thomas Ridge.

Now called the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, the 150,000-sf facility will break ground in spring 2008 and is scheduled for completion in early 2011. It will be constructed on a 6.5-acre portion of a 33-acre parcel along Wayne Avenue, contiguous with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus.

The Pennsylvania General Services Administration acquired the land, formerly owned by the Kovalchick Salvage Co., for $10 million. Half of the price tag was paid by the commonwealth under current Gov. Ed Rendell, and the rest from a combination of sources, including the Indiana county commissioners and county development corporation, Indiana Borough and White Township.

While the university will own and manage KCAC, it is designed to serve the entire region and host sporting events, trade shows and other activities. A university spokesman tells it will contain a 4,000- to 6,000-seat arena and a separate 600-seat auditorium along with conferencing facilities and administrative offices for the university’s athletic department and its John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security.

The fundraising initiative has secured $10 million to date in private and federal contributions, which include a $3-million federal earmark by Rep. John Murtha. In addition to approving the center’s name, the university’s council of trustees also approved 18 additional named spaces within the complex in recognition of individual donations.

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