Possible Improvements to Illinois' Memorial Stadium
Located only two hours south of Chicago, Illinois' Memorial Stadium has been home to Fighting Illini football for 90 years. Housing just over 60,000 orange-clad Fighting Illini fans, Memorial Stadium is always the place to be on fall Saturdays.
This past season, Illinois made improvements to the stadium, including a new scoreboard and audio system. However, the work isn't done. Like all stadiums, there's always room to improve the experience.
Here are four possible improvements to Illinois' Memorial Stadium.
Improve the Lights on the East Sidelines
Perhaps it's a bit of a nit-pick, but the lights on the east sideline look a bit outdated for the times. The towers look more like cell phone antennae with lights on it. Given the new, clean look of the press box, something with a bit more of a permanent appearance would be more sufficient.
One of Memorial Stadium's best aspects from an architectural standpoint is that it has a great combination of modern and classical architecture.
Install Seating at the 50-Yard Line
Like most college football stadiums, Memorial Stadium's outside seating is entirely metal bleachers. Some Illini-blue seating at midfield would be a great aesthetic addition that would also provide some more appeal for those who wish to spend some more money to watch the game in comfort.
Bleachers can become quite uncomfortable in no time, and permanent backed seating provides a much cleaner, more eye-appealing look.
Add Additional Statues and Tributes to Former Players
Besides the existing statue of Red Grange on the west side of the stadium, there are no other tributes to any other legendary Illinois players.
A few names deserving of statues are former linebacker great Dick Butkus, George Halas or Robert Zuppke (who has a plaque and rock at the north end zone).
Perhaps the statues could be put on the outside along with the existing Red Grange statue on the west side to create a "Walk of Fame" for fans to enjoy on non-game days.
Add a Tribute to U.S. Soldiers Outside the Stadium
Although each column has a name of a fallen soldier from Illinois on it, there are really no other noticeable tributes to soldiers throughout the rest of the stadium. Perhaps a tribute on the outside of the stadium would add to the "memorial" aspect of the stadium.
Veterans tributes always enhance the appeal and meaning of a stadium, especially one named "Memorial Stadium."