Contractors Race Against the Clock to Finish State Farm Center Renovations

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CHAMPAIGN--Work is underway on new seats and new entrances at the State Farm Center, and by November 7th, all those renovations have to be ready for a new season of Illini basketball.

Construction crews have been tearing up the outside of the legendary arena since March, creating new mechanical spaces on the building's east and west sides, and remodeling the entrances above them.

"We're pretty much on schedule right now," said University of Illinois Senior Associate Athletic Director, Warren Hood, who is overseeing the project.

BY November 7th, the scaffolding will be stripped so fans can use those entrances to fill the bowl.

"There will be a roof over the west side, as well as the east side," said Hood. "So people will be covered as they come into the building."

Once inside, people sitting in the upper level will encounter more of the changes that came during stage two of the six-phase, nearly $170 million project, as they take their seats in about 10,000 new chairs.

"We have over 50 percent of those in, we have another four weeks of installation," said director of field operations, Dennis Kelly. "They're on target to have those in within that time."

Along with handrails, temporary stairs, and new ramps outside the south side of the building. But no arena is complete without boards: both floor and score.

"Obviously it will look different for basketball when we get the court down and the new scoreboard up and running," said Hood.

Contractors are confident everything will be done by the start of the season.

"We'll play basketball here for sure," said Kelly. "It will be ready"

While they play, work will begin behind the scenes on phase three of the renovations. The project is expected to be completed in its entirety by the start of the 2016 season.
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