University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Track & Field Replacement
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wanted to replace its aging outdoor track and infield with one that was worthy of a Big Ten school. The project would be undertaken at the same time that a new press box building and bleachers were being constructed for both the track and the adjacent soccer field. With a approximately four-foot elevation difference between the fields – and perfect alignment needed to pour the track correctly – the track and field project would require intense collaboration between the two design teams and also between multiple contractors handling different aspects of the construction. The University needed the new track to be finished in time to host the Big 10 Championships in the spring of 2021.
Construction began in the Fall of 2019, after the track season ended. Field events were relocated to a temporary facility so that the athletes could continue to train. With real grass needed for the field events, the infield was re-sodded in the fall of 2020 in time to be ready for the 2021 Tournament.
While the old track was completely gutted, much of the existing stone was able to be salvaged for the base layer of the new track at the recommendation of SH Civil Engineers to provide considerable savings to the project. The new nine-lane track needed to be precise, with zero tolerance for gradient changes in the asphalt. A national specialist was brought on as part of the design team, and education and management of the construction team was a top priority. A base coating of polyurethane was applied to the asphalt then finished with a rubber track surface. The track is mostly grey with splashes of the University’s orange and blue for branding.
With a dedication to collaboration and quality, the project was able to meet its tight spring 2021 deadline so that the University could successfully host the Big 10 Championships.