The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) will continue to hold the National Men’s Basketball Tournament at Hutchinson’s Sports Arena as a result of a 25 year contract signing this morning.
The NJCAA is the second largest collegiate sports association on the nation, and the tournament brings teams from all over the country to Hutchinson each March.
Though the tournament has been held in Hutchinson since 1949, a near future relocation was under consideration prior to the contract signing.
The arena, which is older than both the University of Kansas’s Allen Fieldhouse and Wichita State’s Charles Koch Arena, has managed to remain the home of the NJCAA tournament as a result of an upcoming $29,000,000 renovation to the facility. The renovation, financed by a 0.35 percent tax increase, was approved by 75 percent of voters in April of 2015. This budget will allow for upgraded locker rooms, a new lobby, main entrance and ticketing area, as well as upgraded plumbing, heating and electrical and the addition of new air conditioning units.
Now home to the tournament until at least 2041, Hutchinson expects to bring in more than $30,000,000 over the course of the contract. The tournament is expected to bring $1,300,000 to Hutchinson hotels, restaurants and industry per year.
Facility renovations are expected to begin within the next few weeks, and will take until March of 2017 to complete.