The Daily Illini

Donors give Illinois Football Performance Center project cash injection

By Gavin Good, Staff writer

Illinois announced its secured a major set of donations for the football program’s Football Performance Center on Wednesday.

Twelve donors pooled together to add $2.725 million to the project’s financing, which brings the total amount of money donated toward the project to $8.975 million. The athletic department has set a goal of $30 million in donations in order to finance what is estimated to cost about $80 million in total.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of these 12 friends of our program,” said Director of Athletics Josh Whitman in a press release. “I am continuously encouraged by the commitment of the Illini family and their belief in and passion for what we are building. At this pivotal time in our history, they realize the impact their gift can have on Illinois football and the impact successful football can have on our program and our university.”

The project began its construction in early 2018 and is set to be completed in time for the 2019 football season.

The planned 107,650 square foot building will massively increase the space available to the program and will add a host of new amenities, including new and expanded areas for strength and conditioning, staff offices, development areas and recruiting areas for hosting prospects. Whitman said at his media roundtable on June 6 there will be a two-lane bowling alley and a rooftop terrace in addition to the already-announced plans.

Dianne Anderson, Jim Dixon and Kathie Lockhart-Dixon, Gary Hein, John Santogrossi and Jane Romweber Santogrossi and the Dauer, Herbison, Noelke, Peterson and Sykes families were all named as donors, with several opting to remain anonymous.

Whitman foretold the donations at his roundtable in early June, expressing excitement for the upcoming months after spending a significant amount of time and energy focusing on raising money since taking charge of the athletic department in February 2016.

“The fundraising front has been incredibly successful over the last 12 months,” Whitman said. “We look forward to continuing to build on that momentum as we move forward.”

He also shared at the roundtable that for the first time since 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, the athletic department is set to see consecutive years of growth in its annual fund. He noted about 1,700 donors increased their financial commitments to the University over the past year and a number of others have joined in donating for the first time.

Though that projection is based on estimates and will not be certain until the end of the fiscal year, Whitman was bullish about his department’s financial growth and security headed toward the future.

“We’re excited about the response; we’re very grateful to our fans and to our supporters,” Whitman said. “They continue to answer the bell when we put out the call.”

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