Frequently Asked Questions

"We want our loyal fans to have the latest information about the renovation of State Farm Center. There is a tremendous amount of interest in the project from the people who drive by each day, to the fans thousands of miles away wanting to know what is going on." - Director of Athletics, Mike Thomas


The Project

The project is scheduled to occur in phases to avoid disrupting any of the Illinois basketball seasons. Initial construction began following the completion of the 2013-14 basketball season. The luxury suites and club/loge seats are scheduled to be finished in time for the 2015-16 basketball season. It is our goal to complete the renovation by the beginning of the 2016-17 basketball season.

In phase 2 (March-November 2014), there will be a significant amount of work to upgrade the mechanical systems in State Farm Center. This work will include demolition of many areas as well as construction of new mechanical spaces on the east and west sides. Above these mechanical spaces, the new east and west entrances will start to take shape. Also, construction will begin on the new south ramps and plaza areas that will provide entrances and exits for State Farm Center.

The construction schedule is very aggressive. The architect, construction manager and project managers are all aware of the deadlines and milestones that are in place and must be met regarding the project. We are very confident the team will make this schedule happen. The progress will be monitored very closely and in the event other arrangements need to be made, we are prepared to address those concerns.

With estimated costs of $169.5 million, the State Farm Center project is one of the most ambitious in University of Illinois history. Funding will come from the sales of premium seating opportunities, capital campaign gifts and philanthropic naming opportunities within the renovated State Farm Center and from the incredible support of University of Illinois students. A slight increase in student fees will cover most of the remaining amount needed to support the project. No state, city or county funding will be used to finance the renovation project.

Los Angeles-based architectural firm AECOM is spearheading the architecture and design.

The project budget is $169.5 million with construction labor and materials accounting for approximately $120 million of that total. The majority of the contractors that were awarded bids for the renovation are local, therefore an estimated $48 million in labor (wages) and $72 million in materials will provide a significant and positive impact on the local and state-wide economy.

State Farm Center has undergone few physical changes or improvements in its existence. Infrastructure deficiencies and antiquated amenities necessitate significant improvements. In addition, Illinois realizes that current investment is necessary to enjoy future success. In order for Illinois basketball to accomplish all that Illini fans across the country desire, State Farm Center must be brought up to the standards seen across the country by our peer world-class institutions and around the Big Ten Conference.

Ensuring that State Farm Center retains the qualities that have made it an endearing landmark to generations of Illinois fans will be the first priority of the renovation project. Once completed, the renovated State Farm Center will seamlessly combine modern amenities and technological innovation with the traditions and history of its storied past.

THE BUILDING

The current plan is to include wi-fi capabilities for patrons of State Farm Center. A custom-designed high-definition LED video board will be suspended above center court which will be visible to all fans. In addition to the main video board, there will be an LED ribbon board on the east side of State Farm Center.

Air conditioning will be incorporated into the project. This is a significant improvement as it will allow events and activities to be scheduled year round.

Yes. Currently, there are 96 public restroom fixtures in State Farm Center. After the renovation is complete, these numbers will more than double to 200 fixtures available for public use. This increase in these facilities will significantly improve service to patrons in terms of time spent waiting in restroom lines.

The addition of premium seating is only one aspect of the renovation project. All of the public areas, concessions and restroom facilities will receive extensive upgrades. In addition, wider aisles and increased access for patrons with disabilities will enhance the game-viewing experience for our patrons. These improvements, as well as general infrastructure maintenance and improved public concourses, will make the renovated State Farm Center a safer, cleaner and more fan-friendly environment for all Illini fans.

Fighting Illini men's and women's basketball and coaches' locker rooms will be renovated as a part of the project. Additionally, there will be an upgraded locker room for the visiting team. Another addition includes a new sports medicine area as part of the renovated State Farm Center. These improvements will help our coaches recruit the best student-athletes to the University of Illinois.

Alcohol will only be available in the club and suite areas during athletic events. Beer and wine will continue to be available to patrons of selected entertainment events.

The goal of the project is to obtain a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Level, essentially making this a green building project.

The Illinois Ticket Office, which will be located inside the new west entrance upon completion of the renovation, will have windows to serve patrons on the interior of the building on State Farm Center's west plaza.

The Illinois Ticket Office is temporarily located at 2141 S. Neil Street in Champaign within the Shoppes of Knollwood Shopping Plaza. The ticket office will return to State Farm Center once the renovation has been completed. On game days during the football and basketball season, the ticket office will work out of a trailer located in the northwest parking lot of State Farm Center. Their temporary address and contact information is:

Illinois Ticket Office
2141 S. Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820
217-333-3470

THE SEATING BOWL

State Farm Center will have approximately 15,500 seats.

Yes. The team benches and scorer's table will be located on the east side of the floor. The television platform will be flipped to the west side, shooting toward the east. The area directly behind the team benches and scorer's table will be the seating area for the Orange Krush. The band will be located at the south end, next to the visitor's bench.

There will be approximately 1,200 floor seats, an increase of 500, for the Orange Krush on both ends of the court and on the east side of the court behind the benches and scorer's table.

THE CONCOURSE

There will be additional stands and a greater variety of concessions than ever before, including several concessions options around the upper bowl.

The game telecast will be available on HD flat-screen monitors throughout the building.

There will be an elevator accessing all levels of State Farm Center. In addition, designated accessible seating areas are present at several spots in the bowl that will allow our guests with special needs to comfortably enjoy the game.

BEHIND THE SCENES

One of the many additions planned in State Farm Center is a new courtside tunnel which will complement the existing tunnel. An additional tunnel to access the arena floor is necessary and will be used primarily during Fighting Illini basketball games for players, officials, television personalities, and recruits.

One of the most exciting features of the renovation project is the creation of a West Grand Entrance to State Farm Center. An expanded, bright and colorful lobby will welcome fans as they enter the main circle drive off First Street. It will immediately become a central meeting space and will feature access to the Illinois Ticket Office. It will also provide a space for fans to mingle indoors and out of the elements prior to the game and before entering the State Farm Center arena.

One of the many benefits of the Illinois Renaissance will be enhanced and additional entryways for guests as they arrive at State Farm Center. For the first time ever, the east side of State Farm Center will have a major entrance of its own just off Fourth Street. Plans inside this area include a lobby that will showcase memorabilia, photographs, and highlight videos of some of the most exciting moments in Fighting Illini Basketball history.

EVENTS

State Farm Center is operated by the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) for the benefit of the entire campus and Central Illinois community. Expected uses include annual new-student convocation, commencement ceremonies and a wide variety of other public events and entertainment opportunities.

The University of Illinois State Farm Center consistently ranks among the top 15 in the nation for university arenas presenting national touring concerts and family shows. State Farm Center tops the charts for university arenas in the nation for presenting national touring Broadway productions.

PARKING

Because the bulk of the construction will occur outside of the basketball season, it is anticipated that the renovation project will have a minimal effect on game-day parking for both basketball and football games. During the 2013-14 basketball season, only the southeast portion of the parking lot was unavailable. This will remain the case until the completion of the project.

Parking passes are allocated to I FUND donors with the purchase of men's basketball season tickets. Single-game parking for non-donors is available in designated lots and is sold on a first-come, first-served basis on game day. Suite and courtside seat holders also will receive an additional parking pass with their purchase. Traditions Club and Loge seat holders will only receive their I FUND parking pass, unless they purchase five or more tickets (receive one additional pass for the purchase of 5-8 tickets, two passes for the purchase of 9-12 tickets, etc.)

GENERAL SEATING

Prior to the 2015-16 basketball season, every season-ticket holder will have the opportunity to personally select their new season-ticket locations. The method for assigning seats has not changed. All season-ticket holders will be ranked according to their current I FUND club level and priority points totals as of Feb. 1, 2015. Your seats will not be changed for the 2014-15 basketball season.

Yes. State Farm Center will be reseated on a four-year cycle, with the next scheduled reseating campaign to occur prior to the 2019-20 basketball season.

The Illinois Ticket Office will be communicating to all season-ticket holders the exact details of the reseating process during August/September of 2014. A state-of-the-art, 3D visualization software will be utilized, giving each ticket holder the opportunity to view and personally select their seats online.

It is impossible to determine how much one must donate to keep their current seat location. Since every season-ticket holder will be selecting new seats, there is no way to guarantee that one's current seats will still be available at their scheduled selection time. For additional information, please contact our I FUND Office at 217-333-6595 in Champaign or at 312-575-7850 in Chicago.

Yes. There will be an opportunity to select seats and sit with friends/family. Remember though, by choosing to request group seating, all members of the group will select their seats together based on the lowest ranked member of their group.

Seat selection times will be scheduled based on one's current I FUND club level and priority points totals. Improving one's club level standing within the I FUND is the best way to improve your seat selection time and earn additional priority points. Additional priority points also can be earned by purchasing football or men's basketball season tickets. The deadline to make an additional gift and have it count toward improving your ranking for the reseating project is February 1, 2015. Gifts made after this date will not be counted toward improving your seat selection time.

No. State Farm Center will be reseated on a four-year cycle, with the next scheduled reseating campaign occurring just prior to the 2019-20 basketball season. However, during the four years prior to the next reseating campaign, you will be able to keep your seat location as long as you continue to maintain your annual I FUND giving level.

Additional ADA accessibility seating will be available in all seating areas of State Farm Center.

Years of consecutive season tickets and lifetime I FUND contributions are the basis for the priority points system and will be integral to the allocation process.

The Illinois Renaissance for State Farm Center will enhance the game experience for all fans. The fans sitting in the upper level will enjoy an expanded concourse area with new restrooms, upgraded concessions, and historical displays representing all 19 Illini sports, along with a high-definition video board to view replays.

NAMING OPPORTUNITIES

Several naming rights for specific areas within the arena are available. Illinois fans and alumni are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to permanently become part of the history of Illinois Athletics by supporting the Illinois Renaissance of State Farm Center; you may put your family or company name on any one of the dozens of unique naming opportunities and leave your legacy with Illinois athletics. For more information, please contact a member of the I FUND team at 217-333-6595 in Champaign or at 312-575-7850 in Chicago, or click here.

Yes. There will be sport-specific displays for each one of our 19 varsity sports. Naming rights opportunities still remain for some of our varsity sports, but act quickly because inventory is limited.

CAMPAIGN GIFTS

Campaign gifts are a critical component of the funding model for the Illinois Renaissance project. With these funds, the athletic department will be able to provide a significant payment to the debt service as the project begins.

All or a portion of your campaign contribution may be tax deductible. Please contact your tax advisor. Also, all contributors of $3,000 or more to the State Farm Center Renaissance campaign will be permanently recognized in the State Farm Center for their visionary support.

Your campaign gift is calculated on a per-seat basis. Please see below for the breakdown:

Traditions Club$3,000/seat
Traditions Club Concourse Level$3,000/seat
Legacy Club$3,000/seat
Loge Seats$4,000/seat

Payment on the debt service for this $169.5 million project is a very important piece to this project. By obtaining as much funding as possible at the front end, the DIA will be in a better position to support the funding of the project.

Yes. A campaign gift pledge will place you in a position to participate in the premium seating selection process. This philanthropic campaign gift will support the renovation of State Farm Center. All or a portion of your campaign contribution may be tax deductible. Please contact your tax advisor. These gifts will be fulfilled according to the terms outlined in the university pledge agreement.

PREMIUM SEATING

There are substantial tax benefits associated with leasing premium seating. The annual financial commitment to lease these opportunities contains both a taxable portion (for the cost of goods and services provided, such as game tickets, parking, catering, etc.) and a tax-deductible charitable gift. According to current IRS regulations, after the taxable portion is subtracted from each annual commitment, 80 percent of the remaining portion is a tax-deductible charitable gift. The value of goods/services received will be calculated annually and provided by the University of Illinois. Consult your tax advisor to learn how the IRS guidelines relate to your specific situation. Please click here to see the tax advantages chart.

Initial allocation for State Farm Premium Seating will be divided into three groups: (1) Illinois Renaissance campaign gifts of $100,000+, (2) individuals meeting established priority deadlines of either April 26, 2013 or February 1, 2014, and (3) individuals committing after the applicable priority deadlines. The I FUND club level and priority points system will be utilized to rank within those allocation groups.

For I FUND members, license fees paid for exclusive access to luxury seating within the renovated State Farm Center will not count toward changing I FUND annual club levels. Priority Points based upon license fees will, however, accrue within current I FUND club levels.

The DIA will gauge the interest in the use of premium seating for Fighting Illini women's basketball. Pricing and availability will be determined at a later date.

Supporting this project is our mission, but the overriding funding goal is to meet the rising cost of education. Total education costs for Illini student-athletes during the 2012-13 fiscal year topped $10.8 million. I FUND contributions for the same year were under $7.7 million. We encourage you to partner with us on the Illinois Renaissance project and enjoy the new premium seating opportunities, but we also ask that you begin, maintain or upgrade your support for the education of Fighting Illini student-athletes through the I FUND.

Until the plans are final, these numbers may change, but according to current plans, approximately 388 seats are located on the west side and 564 are located on the east side of State Farm Center.

The addition of premium seating is only one aspect of the renovation project. All of the public areas, including concessions and restroom facilities, will receive extensive upgrades. In addition, increased accessibility will enhance the game-viewing experience for everyone in attendance. These improvements, as well as general infrastructure maintenance and improved public concourses, will make the renovated State Farm Center a safer, cleaner and more fan-friendly environment for all Illini fans.

You may certainly wait until closer to the 2015-16 basketball season. However, we cannot guarantee that inventory will still be available. We encourage Illini fans to reserve their seat now in support of this project.

Ticket locations are influenced by your annual I FUND club level. Donor club levels and priority points will be set as of February 1, 2015, for State Farm Center premium seating allocation. If you lower your club level at any time during the terms of your agreement, we reserve the right to change your ticket location to accurately reflect your current club level.