Indoor Practice Facilty Announced
Construction scheduled to begin on $ 12.5 million facility in early summer -11/23/98
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced plans earlier today to construct the Indoor Football Practice Facility, at a cost of $ 12.5 million. The facility will be constructed utilizing private donations, including a lead gift of $ 7.5 million from the Irwin Family Foundation. The design, approved by the UI Board of Trustees last week, was prepared by Ratio Architects (Design Architect), Severns Reid and Associates/Isaksen Glerum PC (Architect), Tylk Gustafson & Associates (Structural Engineer) and KJWW Engineering Consultants (Mechanical/Electrical Engineer).
"We're pleased to move forward with plans to construct the Indoor Football Practice Facility," said Director of Athletics Ron Guenther. "The facility will allow our football program to prepare and practice in a state-of-the-art building, located directly adjacent to the current Irwin Football Complex."
The 77,327 square foot facility will be constructed just east of the Intramural Physical Education Building (IMPE) in what is currently a parking lot. The Indoor Football Practice Facility will contain an 80-yard Astroturf playing surface with a full end zone and 21-foot perimeter safety zone.
"The construction of the indoor facility is a huge uplift for our entire football program, " said Head Coach Ron Turner. "The facility is not only going to serve our current players, but will greatly aid our recruiting efforts in attracting outstanding student-athletes to the University of Illinois. This project demonstrates the commitment this institution has to this football program. The location is perfect, located right next to our locker room and the grass practice facility, allowing the flexibility to practice indoors or outdoors in the spring and fall."
The facility will feature a semi-parabolic dome slanted roof which reaches an internal height of 50 feet. A large single arched box truss will be utilized spanning the length of the playing field. This center truss is arranged asymmetrically so that its spring point is higher at the end zone and lower at the opposite end. This multi-purpose facility also features retractable baseball netting.
"The Irwin Family Foundation has been a significant and loyal benefactor to the University of Illinois and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics," said Guenther. "From Dick and Marie Irwin's initial $ 1.5 million lead gift to construct the Irwin Football Facility in 1985 through the construction of the Irwin Academic Center, the Irwin Family Foundation has remained a valuable partner with Fighting Illini athletics."
The unique architectural design of the building fits with the historical significance and architectural integrity of Memorial Stadium and surrounding UI buildings with its red brick exterior and slanted roof. The exterior of the building is clad primarily with the university blend brick, detailed with limestone and has some larger areas of articulated metal panels in the color of limestone. The interior features a smooth wall surface and uses both direct lighting fixtures and natural light.
"The Irwin Family Foundation is committed to the University of Illinois and its athletic programs," said Robert Lynch, Irwin Family Foundation Trustee. "We are pleased to be involved with this building, which will benefit not only the Illinois football program, but will be used by Illinois students and faculty for intramurals and other campus-wide uses."
With approval from the UI Board of Trustees last week, the process for architectural rendering will begin with bids being prepared for selection of the general contractor. Construction on the project could begin as early as June, 1999 with the completion date scheduled for October, 2000.