The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced Monday that it plans to continue renovations to Memorial Stadium. The Illinois Renaissance project began in 2005 when updates to the bathrooms, concession areas and luxury suites were added. In 2013 the video boards were improved, and the university doesn’t want to stop there.
The new renovations will improve fans’ experiences by the addition of new restrooms and concessions, elevators, accessible seating and a new south grandstand. The athletes will benefit from new locker rooms, training, recovery and sports medicine facilities, meeting and office spaces and recruiting venues.
Athletic director Josh Whitman says in a letter to fans that the reason for these renovations is the jolt of energy felt when Lovie Smith took over this year as head coach. He also mentions that other Big Ten schools are updating their facilities, so Illinois must keep up.
“Major football investments are occurring across the conference — not only at schools like Michigan and Ohio State, but also at Iowa, Purdue and Indiana,” Whitman said. “To compete, and ultimately to win, the University of Illinois must invest as well.”
This will cost around $132 million dollars, all of which comes from private funds. The new football facilities and grandstand construction are scheduled to finish before the 2019 season and the east stands by 2020.