U Of I Announces Another Building Project For Athletics On Urbana Campus
Wednesday afternoon Illini Athletic Director Josh Whitman announced an $18 million construction project for Illini soccer and track & field teams.
The Demirjian family of Decatur, whose name already adorns the Illini outdoor golf practice facility, are the benefactors.
“The donation from the Demirjian family is $7 million, pledged over a period of years," Whitman said. "Total cost for the soccer stadium we anticipate to be around $14 million. The track and field reconfiguration/rebuild should be an additional $4 million.”
Whitman says the new facilities will provide basic comforts such as toilets, and locker rooms, which the teams don't currently have. There will also be a permanent sports medicine facility for the two teams, work space for athletes and staff, and improved accommodations for spectators.
Three generations of the Demirjian family were on hand for the announcement, where soccer coach Janet Rayfield, and track & field coach Mike Turk thanked them profusely for giving their teams a home.
"We have no home. I've been out there for 12 years standing in the middle of that field," Turk said. "I don't think you can understand the kind of gratitude that I have toward you for your gift. Being able to provide basic human needs of love, and shelter, and care goes a long way toward creating a championshp culture."
Two new soccer fields will be built, one for practice and one for games, in time for the 2019 season. Track & field improvements should be completed two years after that. The U of I hopes to host the 2021 Big Ten outdoor track & field championships.