Illinois’ new athletic director Josh Whitman will have a lot of issues on his plate when he officially starts the job in March, and one of the main issues he’ll have to deal with is upgrading facilities.

Although State Farm Center is in the last stages of its renovations and it’s been a decade since Memorial Stadium’s west and north sides were renovated, there’s work that needs to be done so Illinois can compete with other Big Ten facilities.

Whitman’s absence from the school means he’s unfamiliar with the statuses of Illinois’ facilities, but the new athletic director plans on catching up with the school’s playing and practice fields.

“I’ve been gone long enough where I haven’t seen our facilities portfolio in a while, there was a time when I was familiar with it, but it’s been some time,” Whitman said. “I look forward to taking some folks around for a day, heading to the different facilities, examine them and start a plan.”

One of the first things Whitman and his staff will have to look at is finishing the renovations of Memorial Stadium. Parts of the Great East Hall were renovated with the additions of concession stands and better bathrooms, but many believe there can still be work done.

The major component of a Memorial Stadium renovation would be the horseshoe. There were talks of a multiple story building to be built in the south part of the stadium before former athletic director Mike Thomas was fired in November. 

The plan included having the building host an Illinois hall of fame, a bigger gym for the football team and a better place for student-athletes to eat.

The football offices will also need major renovations. Coaches are working in offices that are decades old and in spaces that don’t compare favorably with offices around the nation.

Illinois Field also needs a facelift. The home to the baseball team was built in 1988 and has seen some changes, including the addition of lights in 1999, FieldTurf in 2008 and a video board in 2015, but Illinois’ run to the College World Series showed that 1,500 seats might not be enough for a fast-growing program. 

The clubhouse increased in square footage by 30 percent prior to the 2011 season.

Basketball’s Ubben Practice Facility and other places will also need to undergo renovations in order to match the standards set by other schools. Although it might take some time, Whitman plans on making sure Illinois reaches an appropriate level.

“Any athletic department with this level needs to continually looking to upgrade the facility,” Whitman said. “You always need to have a plan and should never be status quo with your entire facilities portfolio. We’ll put a plan together and start to implement it.”