AECOM upgrades State Farm Center with contemporary spaces, seating and technology
CHAMPAIGN, IL (Nov. 2) — State Farm Center, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s historic arena, has re-opened after a renovation designed by AECOM to introduce a full suite of modern amenities for student-athletes and fans. Targeting a LEED Gold certification, the upgrades complement a midcentury-modern design by Max Abramovitz that has been a defining feature of the campus for more than 50 years.
The men and women’s basketball teams will both play their regular season home opener games on Nov. 11. A rededication ceremony is scheduled for the 29th.
“We are excited to officially dedicate State Farm Center and to reintroduce the longstanding home of Illinois basketball to Illini Nation,” said Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman. “The facility has been transformed into one of the greatest venues in college basketball.”
The renovation redefined the entry and arrival experiences with new site circulation plans, a grand west-entry lobby and new premium east-entry lobby. It celebrated the building’s original design through sculptural structural elements and the use of circular and elliptical forms. A new, sloped, glass curtain wall surrounds the base of the building—an update to an original Abramovitz design concept that increases transparency and energy efficiency.
“The university trusted our team to renovate a building with a remarkable legacy,” said Greg Brown, AECOM’s project designer. “Our challenge was for State Farm Center to feel like an entirely new building in terms of the event experience for student-athletes and fans while feeling completely familiar in its architectural character.”
A redesigned seating bowl pulls fans closer to the action while integrating new courtside seats, suites, loge seats and four clubs, including one for the Orange Krush student group. New LED video boards, a new audio system, and wifi access points modernize the building. Air conditioning makes State Farm Center usable year-round for the first time. Additional restrooms and concessions further increase fan comfort.
New contemporary locker rooms, coaches’ locker rooms, a “ready room” for coaching and instruction, lounge space and training room serve both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Additional service tunnels and storage space maximize operational efficiencies and increase the building’s availability for concerts and special events.
AECOM coordinated with the university and construction manager to implement the renovation in six phases over three years so that the Fighting Illini never missed a scheduled home game. AECOM services included: architecture, engineering (geotechnical, information technology and security), programming, interior design and cost consultancy.
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Director, Corporate Communications