State Farm Center
|"The House of 'Paign", "The Farm"|
|Former names||Assembly Hall (1963-2013)|
|Location||1800 South 1st Street
Champaign, IL 61820-6950
|Owner||University of Illinois|
|Operator||University of Illinois|
|Broke ground||May 25, 1959|
|Opened||March 2, 1963|
|Construction cost||$8.35 million
($64.3 million in 2014 dollars)
|Architect||Harrison & Abramovitz|
|Structural engineer||Ammann & Whitney|
|General contractor||Felmley-Dickerson Co.|
|Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball (1963-Present)
Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball (1974-Present)
Fighting Illini Basketball
State Farm Center hosts home games of Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball and Illinois Fighting Illini women's basketball and has earned a reputation as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, thanks to the student cheering section, the "Orange Krush," which occupies the floor around the court as well as some seats.
At the annual "Paint the Hall Orange" game, everyone in attendance would wear an orange shirt, resulting in an impressive and intimidating environment. In recent years, however, it has become customary for Illini fans to wear orange at all home games and so the official "PTHO" game was discontinued after the 2007-08 season.
State Farm Center opened as Assembly Hall on March 2, 1963 and continues to attract attention for its design and construction. Four hundred feet across, it at one time was one of only two edge-supported domes in the world. The roof is supported by 614 miles (988 km) of one-quarter inch steel wire wrapped at the base of the dome under intensive pressure. The architect was Max Abramovitz, a University of Illinois alumnus.
The third largest Illinois arena after the United Center in Chicago and the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, State Farm Center has just over 16,000 permanent seats, with an official capacity of 16,618 for basketball games, but when portable chairs are placed on the floor for an in-the-round performance there is a potential of up to 17,200 depending on the size of the stage.
State Farm Center has hosted a variety of Illinois High School Association events. It has been the home of the state individual wrestling tournament since 1967. From 1963 to 1995, State Farm Center played host to the state finals of the boys' basketball tournament. From 1978 to 1990, it also hosted the IHSA girls' basketball tournament.
On April 2, 2008, the Assembly Hall was added to the annual top ten endangered Illinois historic places list, as published by Landmarks Illinois, a non-profit historic preservation group. The only other endangered athletic site on the list is the Cubs' Wrigley Field in Chicago.
In the autumn of 2008, school officials, led by former Athletics Director Ron Guenther, conducted a study to decide whether to refurbish the then-named Assembly Hall or build a new basketball arena. In 2010 a decision was made to renovate rather than replace the building. The architectural firm AECOM has been selected and awarded a contract to design the renovation. Surveys were sent out to I-Fund and season ticket holders to gauge demand for various premium seating options. This information is being used to create schematic drawings and architectural renderings near the end of 2012, which will be used by current Athletics Director Mike Thomas to aid in fundraising for the project. The anticipated renovation cost is between $150 and $160 million, and construction would not start before spring of 2014. As part of the renovations, the naming rights to the arena were purchased by State Farm Insurance for $60 million over 30 years.
Fighting Illini home courts
- Kenney Gym (1905–1925) located on the campus of the University of Illinois and is named after Harold E. (Hek) Kenney. The arena opened in 1890 and was originally known as the Men's Gym Annex.
- Huff Hall (1925–1963) opened in 1925 and was known as Huff Gymnasium until the 1990s. It is named after George Huff, who was the school's athletic director from 1895 to 1935.
- Assembly Hall/State Farm Center (1963–present)
- Kacich, Tom (May 20, 2009). "University of Illinois' 'Flying Saucer' Has Aged Gracefully". The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana). Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
- Bannon, Terry (August 21, 2008). "Guenther Assesses Assembly Hall's Fate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2008.
- Patel, Darshan (December 2, 2011). "Board Approves Assembly Hall Architect, Natural History Building Funds and Easter as Interim Vice Chancellor". Daily Illini (University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign). Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Supine, John (August 14, 2012). "U of I Gauges Demand for Premium Seats in Assembly Hall". The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL). Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Illini's Assembly Hall Renamed". ESPN. April 29, 2013. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
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