CHAMPAIGN -- It's official. Assembly Hall will be renamed "The State Farm Center." The UI's Board of Trustees approved the new name and upgrades Wednesday.
But, don't expect to see changes any time soon. Athletic leaders say they plan to let the transition happen naturally, replacing things as they're needed rather than buying new signs, stationery and shirts all at once.
Update: 11:31 am
CHICAGO -- The UI Board of Trustees formally approved a $160-million renovation and name change for Assembly Hall. The 50-year old facility is now the State Farm Center, per a 30-year, $50-million naming-rights agreement with State Farm Insurance, Co.
The company announced last month it will provide nearly 40% of funding for upgrades including expanding the center's floor to accommodate larger programs, adding luxury suites and installing air conditioning. Major work is expected to start in March 2014 with renovations being completed by November 2016.
Work will stop during basketball season. In addition to the State Farm agreement, the project will be financed with private donations and a new $25/semester student fee. It was approved by students in a March referendum.
Original: 8:40 am
CHAMPAIGN -- Assembly Hall may officially become the State Farm Center Wednesday night. UI Board of Trustees will meet in Chicago for final approval on changes to the new name.
It's part of a $165 million renovation project which includes adding air conditioning, more seating, new lobbies and locker rooms. Trustees will also give final approval on the project's budget and designs.