UI replaces turf in Memorial Stadium, begins renovation of State Farm Center


The Daily Illini Photo File

The Illinois Cheerleading team run across with flags spelling out “Illinois” on the Memorial Stadium field during the Homecoming game against Wisconsin on Oct. 9. The the University’s Facilities and Services has started drafting up plans to renovate the historic stadium.

By Royal Shrestha, Assistant News Editor

Shortly after graduation weekend, the University’s Facilities & Services began renovations for the Memorial Stadium, including replacing the turf in the stadium.

F&S has historically renovated the turf at Memorial Stadium and the basketball court at State Farm Center every decade. Unlike the artificial turf, the basketball court gets refinished across the 10 years to help maintain its fresh look and to mask any worn down places.

“There are several new things that will be added to the turf while some things will remain the same,” said Kent Brown, the associate athletic director for Media Relations. “The turf should be expected to finish around the week of June 5.” 

Brown noted that the old foundation below the artificial turf was entirely replaced shortly after graduation. The process that took the most time was sewing long strands of the turf surface together similar to that of a carpet, Brown said. 

“The sewn surface is filled in with ground-up rubber and sand to give it a natural ground feel,” he said. “Finally, the next step would be adding the infill to it for a finished look.” 

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Brown noted how the latest version of the artificial surface has made many improvements over the decades to improve on the original hard asphalt surface implemented in the late 1970s.

In addition, the new turf surface can have graphics sewn in which can allow for different designs for various events. 

The University plans to save the Illinois graphic in the middle of the old turf field and sell it to fans as a commemorative piece, partnering with a company to sell small pieces of the basketball court to fans.

Jefrin Joseph, junior in LAS, expressed interest in the idea of selling the old turf as a commemorative piece.

“As a fan with a lot of merch and figures from the teams here at Illinois, a commemorative piece from the actual turf and the stadium would be surreal,” Joseph said. “I would hang it on my wall if possible for everyone to see.”


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