The UI Board of Trustees approved the first phase of the $116-million renovation of Memorial Stadium at its meeting May 11 in Chicago.
The first phase of the project is slated to begin after the 2006 season comes to a close and should last about two years, said Athletic Director Ron Guenther.
The design of the new stadium will preserve the historical aspects of the architecture while modernizing the 83-year-old stadium that needs new concessions areas and bathrooms and improved seating.
“I’m very pleased with the design,” said Chancellor Richard Herman.
University officials have argued that the stadium must be renovated in order to remain competitive with other Big Ten schools.
“This is not a luxury, it’s a necessity to remain competitive,” said trustee David Dorris.
The architects wanted to keep the war memorial aspect of the stadium in place. It has been integrated throughout each floor of the stadium.
“I am pleased the historical integrity of the stadium has been maintained,” Trustee Robert Vickrey said.
Renovations will be funded through bonds that will be repaid through the sale of suites, club seats and a ticket surcharge beginning in the fall.
Most of the specialty seats have already been sold.
“Kudos to Ron Guenther for the ability to raise private money for funding this project,” Trustee Robert Sperling said.
The first phase will add about 5,800 seats and office space to the north end of the stadium. New concessions and bathrooms will be added in each phase. Once the renovation is complete in 2008, the stadium will hold about 4,000 fewer people, but the loss was necessary for the renovations, officials said.
The trustees also approved several projects that will be funded through a deferred maintenance fund.
The projects are ones that are considered critical on the three campuses. On the Urbana-Champaign campus, trustees approved $3.35 million for door and window repair in Altgeld Hall, $3 million for safety issues at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, $5.5 million to repair the roof of the Natural History Survey Building, $4 million to repair the exterior of Noyes Laboratory, $4 million to upgrade the fire sprinkler and alarm system at the Psychology Building and $5.5 million to replace air handling units in Roger Adams Laboratory.
In other business, the contract for men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber’s was extended for another year and his salary was increased by $100,000. Weber’s contract now runs through the 2011-12 basketball season.
“I consider this a good extension of his contract for a man who has performed extraordinarily well and become a part of the UI family,” Herman said. His contract is funded by non-state funds, Herman said.
Sperling said Weber has had chances to go elsewhere, but has declined. “He could have gone out and shopped, but that’s not his personality,” he said.
The trustees also approved several other actions.
• An architect was approved for the first phase of the student dining and residential programs building. The $75.7 million project is designed to consolidate dining and residential support spaces on campus into a central location.
• Mary Kalantzis was approved as dean of the College of Education. She is a professor at RMIT University in Melbourne. Herman said she was “very impressive.”
• Ilesanmi Adesida was approved as dean of the College of Engineering. He is currently the interim dean. Herman said there was a vigorous search. “Sometimes we find the best person within our own midst,” he said.
• Trustees approved merging the departments of theoretical and applied mechanics and mechanical engineering. Herman said the merger reflects trends in other parts of the nation, but student trustee Nick Klitzing said the students in the program are not happy with the merger. “They came here for that reason,” he said, referring to the uniqueness of the program. Herman said the students will be receiving the same degree.
• Trustees approved a $4.6-million addition for the Irwin Academic Services Center. The addition will provide supplementary spaces and more services for students.
• Trustees approved changing the name of the College of Applied Life Studies to the College of Applied Health Sciences. Herman said the name Applied Life Studies has caused confusion and is out of date.