The project is scheduled to occur in phases so as to avoid disrupting any of the Illinois basketball seasons. Initial construction is set to commence following the completion of the 2013/14 basketball season. It is anticipated that the luxury suites and club/loge seats could 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.
How much is the renovation going to cost? How is it going to be paid for?
With estimated costs of $157 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 - suites, loge, courtside, and club seats - which will allow for payment on the debt service of newly issued 30-year bonds. Capital campaign gifts and featured philanthropic naming opportunities within the renovated arena, will provide another significant source of funds. Approximately 80% of the project's revenue is made possible by various forms of philanthropy by the Fighting Illini Nation.
The other source of funding for the renovation will come 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 money will be used to finance the renovation project.
Will the State Farm Center maintain its historical significance?
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.
Is now the right time to begin a renovation of State Farm Center?
Absolutely. State Farm Center has undergone few physical changes or improvements in its existence. For some time, infrastructure deficiencies and antiquated amenities have necessitated 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. Every other Big Ten school has either completed or is undergoing a renovation. To stay competitive in attracting top talent to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois must respond.
If I'm not interested in purchasing club seats, courtside seats, loge, or suites, how will the State Farm Center renovation benefit me?
The addition of premium seating is only one aspect of the renovation project. All of the public areas, the concessions areas, and the restroom facilities will receive extensive upgrades. In addition, wider aisles, and increased disability access 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.
Each fan will also enjoy a new seat, new video scoreboard and many more unforgettable moments supporting basketball teams whose future success will be augmented by the recruiting enhancements and student-athlete experiences due to the renovation.
How will the renovation project impact my current seats?
The renovated State Farm Center will have a slightly reduced overall seating capacity and a completely new seating manifest. Realizing that fans have emotional attachments to their seats, athletic department officials are currently reviewing plans used at other schools and are considering options to address every fan's concerns equally and fairly. A future announcement will explain in great detail the steps that will be taken to re-seat the State Farm Center. With the renovation, every fan will get a new seat.
How will the renovation impact parking?
Because the bulk of the construction will occur outside of the basketball seasons, it is anticipated that the renovation project will have a minimal effect on game day parking.
Where does the University of Illinois State Farm Center rank amongst its peers in terms of special events?
The University of Illinois State Farm Center consistently ranks in the top 15 in the nation for university arenas presenting national touring concerts and family shows, and tops the charts for university arenas in the nation for presenting national touring Broadway productions, due to its extensive line set and rigging capability.
As a premium seating member for men's basketball, will I be able to purchase my suite/premium seat for concerts, shows, and other special events?
The newly renovated State Farm Center will have the flexibility to accommodate many different seating configurations, which will help attract a wide variety of concerts/shows. Depending on the specific configuration of a given show/concert, some premium seating areas may not be available for purchase. Every effort will be made to assist our premium seating members with ticket opportunities for these events. However, specific seat locations can not be guaranteed.
If I am not a premium seating member for men's basketball, will I still be able to purchase a suite or premium seat for a concert or show?
Depending upon the specific configuration of the show or concert, some premium seating opportunities may be an option based on availability.