The University of Illinois has unveiled a two-phase, $132 million initiative to overhaul the south and east sections of Memorial Stadium.
Under the current plan, Memorial Stadium will begin receiving upgrades in the summer of 2018. The work would begin on the south end, which would be demolished and be rebuilt to address both fan and team-related amenities.
The biggest piece of the south end project is a new football headquarters that would house a training center, offices, locker rooms, and a sports medicine center. While the design shown above is preliminary, one of the biggest changes from the fan perspective would be a new scoreboard, which will be placed on top of the new building.
The goal is for the south end project to be complete by the 2019 season. Following that phase of the renovation, the university would turn its attention to Memorial Stadium’s east end.
For the fans, the east end may very well bring the most sweeping changes. Memorial Stadium would receive improved concourses, as well as upgrades to the facility’s restroom and concession facilities. Changes will also be made to upgrade the stadium’s elevators and the ADA compliance within the seating bowl.
Currently the University of Illinois expects to pay for the project through a combination of private donations and Department of Intercollegiate Athletics funds. According to athletic director Josh Whitman, the university is making progress in that regard. More from the Herald & Review:
Whitman said there already has been a positive response from donors.
“We’ve already received several seven-figure commitments and we’ll announce those soon,” he said.
Whitman stressed that 100 percent of the funding was coming from his department’s budget.
“No state dollars, tuition dollars or new student fees are being used,” he said.
The university is labeling this as the next phase of the “Illinois Renissance,” which began with as series of renovations that were completed prior to the 2008 season. It is anticipated that the university’s Board of Trustees will consider the latest proposal during the spring of 2017. Should they be approved on that schedule, the renovations to Memorial Stadium would be completed by the start of the 2020 season.
Images courtesy University of Illinois.