By Ethan Ball

Ethan Ball/Collegian - The Hutchinson Sports Arena on Feb. 23 looks much the same as it has for decades. It soon will undergo a $29 million renovation, with the addition of two more gyms, air conditioning and many other features.
Ethan Ball/Collegian - The Hutchinson Sports Arena on Feb. 23 looks much the same as it has for decades. It soon will undergo a $29 million renovation, with the addition of two more gyms, air conditioning and many other features.

It’s the time of year for Hutchinson’s own March Madness with the NJCAA Men’s National Division I basketball tournament right around the corner.

The movement for the NJCAA began in 1937 when track and field coaches gathered in California to make plans. The NJCAA was created a year later.

It’s exciting history continues to unfold.

On Feb. 15, the American Legion and the National Junior College Athletic Association signed an agreement to keep the NJCAA men’s basketball tournament in Hutchinson for another 25 years, given that improvements were made to the Sports Arena.

Last April, Hutchinson voters approved a 0.35 percent sales tax increase to fund a $29.5 million renovation to the Sports Arena.

The tournament brings an estimated $1.3 million economic impact to the community per year which supplies revenue to our hotels, restaurants and retail locations.

One could think of this expensive addition as a long-term investment.

Improvements include new plumbing, electrical and heating systems, air conditioning, and new locker rooms.

Additional plans include adding a new main entrance, lobby and ticketing area, multi-purpose rooms, more restrooms, two new full-sized practice gyms, a Hall of Fame, and a new weight room.

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