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Pregame: The Assembly Hall Renovation Project

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Old Feb 21, 2013, 10:44 PM   #851
Thacher_H_Guild
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Students or anyone at UIUC can access Illinoisnet, it's a newer version of the all-campus WiFi all across campus, unless AH has different restrictions.
Right. I meant people with netids. Yes, students can use it during games too.

I was thinking that the main use is probably whoever is in Assembly Hall during the week...they don't appear to have enough bandwidth for everyone during games.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 10:49 PM   #852
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Right. I meant people with netids. Yes, students can use it during games too.

I was thinking that the main use is probably whoever is in Assembly Hall during the week...they don't appear to have enough bandwidth for everyone during games.
Okay, I gotcha. Yeah, I'm never able to pull anything down and always have to disconnect my Wi-Fi during games if I want to check twitter or anything.

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Old Feb 21, 2013, 11:08 PM   #853
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Okay, I gotcha. Yeah, I'm never able to pull anything down and always have to disconnect my Wi-Fi during games if I want to check twitter or anything.
I was using it tonight, and it was working pretty well. The guy next to me couldn't get on. (Shrug.)

Anyway, it would be a nice to add a public system as part of the upgrade. The cost wouldn't be much compared to everything else they are doing.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 06:54 AM   #854
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I was using it tonight, and it was working pretty well. The guy next to me couldn't get on. (Shrug.)

Anyway, it would be a nice to add a public system as part of the upgrade. The cost wouldn't be much compared to everything else they are doing.
The cost is actually quite high to be able to handle the bandwidth of thousands of people at the same time--especially given that it would only be needed for only a few hours a day a limited number of days per year.

Not to sound curmudgeonly (which I will), but WiFi at a sporting event is a luxury--kind of like WiFi on an airplane. I don't want to see my ticket price go up because someone else wants to be connected.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:00 AM   #855
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Not only that, but one of the major problems in sports arenas now has nothing to do with the arena itself but the nature of the fans going. They want to be connected in order to keep up with fantasy scores, other games, Twitter, etc. They can't do that at somewhere like the current AH. This is what has been driving attendance down in some areas -- they find more benefit at home where they can get things like RedZone for the NFL, etc. and constantly be watching all kinds of action and keeping up on other games through laptops and smartphones. Wifi is the least they can do to make that easier.
Totally agree. Personally, I'm fine just going to a game for the experience of the game, but the reality is, the biggest competition sports businesses have is the experience of watching at home. The quailty of technology available to all of us at relatively inexpensive prices makes watching at a home a much more viable (better depending on your tastes) than it is going to games. I have read that the NFL in particular is very aware of this and knows that their venues need to have as many of the bells and whistles that people have at home.

I've probably mentioned this here before, but I heard the president of Live Nation or Ticketmaster or something talking about how future arenas will be two tiered. One tier will be super high end with all the gadgets at your disposal and will be priced accordingly. The second tier will be just a seat with whatever benefits are provided to the whole stadium.

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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:00 AM   #856
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The cost is actually quite high to be able to handle the bandwidth of thousands of people at the same time--especially given that it would only be needed for only a few hours a day a limited number of days per year.

Not to sound curmudgeonly (which I will), but WiFi at a sporting event is a luxury--kind of like WiFi on an airplane. I don't want to see my ticket price go up because someone else wants to be connected.
What is high? The reason I said "compared to the rest of the project" is we are talking a $160 million project here. How much could the wifi possibly be compared to that?

Yes, it is a luxury (which is why I said it would be nice--not essential), but it would be another cool thing they could point to for those fans who sit in C-section and wonder what they are getting out of it. (Personally, I will be happy if it just solves the bathroom problem, but I understand that others have higher expectations.)
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:44 AM   #857
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What is high? The reason I said "compared to the rest of the project" is we are talking a $160 million project here. How much could the wifi possibly be compared to that?

Yes, it is a luxury (which is why I said it would be nice--not essential), but it would be another cool thing they could point to for those fans who sit in C-section and wonder what they are getting out of it. (Personally, I will be happy if it just solves the bathroom problem, but I understand that others have higher expectations.)

The cost of the infrastructure is one thing, but there would be an additional cost to have enough scalable bandwidth that you could turn up during events. What would a venue like AH need, 1Gbps or more probably?

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Old Feb 22, 2013, 07:56 AM   #858
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The cost of the infrastructure is one thing, but there would be an additional cost to have enough scalable bandwidth that you could turn up during events. What would a venue like AH need, 1Gbps or more probably?
Can't we find somebody over north of Green Street to figure all that out?

Reminds me of a story about when I was on a committee for the Alumni Association and were looking at hiring a firm to put in a database system. I make the comment that Illinois is one of the top engineering/computer science schools in the country and perhaps we could find someone on the other side of the street that could do this for minimal cost or as part of some grad project. Lots of blanks stares.

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Old Feb 22, 2013, 08:42 AM   #859
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The cost of the infrastructure is one thing, but there would be an additional cost to have enough scalable bandwidth that you could turn up during events. What would a venue like AH need, 1Gbps or more probably?
I'm just spitballing the usage ratio at 1/3, so that makes about 5,000 users, which is the equivalent of a good-sized office building. I would think 1Gbps would be the absolute bare minimum, and that would wind up bottlenecking if there is a lot of video streaming going on. I looked at the info for Barclay's Arena in Brooklyn and there aren't any specifics, but their deployment looks like it has a ton of bandwidth because they are touting it as a fully immersive online environment--which I think is overkill, but that's just me.

http://newsroom.cisco.com/press-rele...icleId=1030802

Regardless of whether it's 1Gbps or 5, this is going to require a big bundle of fiber, tons of access points, a whole lot of security infrastructure to protect the university network from public access, and a significant amount of resources to manage and maintain.
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Old Feb 22, 2013, 09:26 AM   #860
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Students to vote on Assembly Hall fee

The University of Illinois is poised to award another contract for the $160 million Assembly Hall renovation even as students prepare to vote on a $50 annual fee that could raise millions for the project.

A Board of Trustees committee will review a proposed $2 million professional services contract Monday with AECOM to develop detailed architectural plans for the project, said Associate Athletic Director Kent Brown. The Los Angeles-based architectural firm was initially hired in November 2011 to create schematic designs that could be used for fundraising.

Meanwhile, backers of a proposed $25-a-semester fee increase for the project have collected enough student signatures to place the question on the March 5-6 campus election ballot. The campus Student Election Commission certified the signatures Thursday.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/uni...-hall-fee.html
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 04:09 PM   #861
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I am really struggling with this floor layout. It is still going to rely a lot on sideline bleachers behind the benches, and leave a lot of the floor unused. I understand that on game day, cheerleaders, Illinettes, and photographers will fill in some of that space, but there is still a considerable amount that can look bad on TV. For example, the right and left ends to each side of the new OK seating (where the I's are on the wall). That is where the camera is going to be focused 80% of the time. There needs to be some continuity in the Krush, and the new tunnel and mirrored void on the right sections it off.

Also, the near side of the court has a lot of area open, especially if they move the benches to the other side. It is possible they are leaving the near side more open for fewer TV angle blockages, but if so, they are wasting a lot of space there. If they keep the row of chairs for a few high level fans like they do now, it is going to look real schotty with only 1 or 2 rows filling that void. The camera angle needs to be moved up further anyway, IMO.
I just hope this renovation is awesome when it is done. I fear a Meh experience might be coming together here.

Gray concrete space = bad.



Last edited by peace davids; Feb 23, 2013 at 04:15 PM.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 07:13 PM   #862
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I am really struggling with this floor layout. It is still going to rely a lot on sideline bleachers behind the benches, and leave a lot of the floor unused. I understand that on game day, cheerleaders, Illinettes, and photographers will fill in some of that space, but there is still a considerable amount that can look bad on TV. For example, the right and left ends to each side of the new OK seating (where the I's are on the wall). That is where the camera is going to be focused 80% of the time. There needs to be some continuity in the Krush, and the new tunnel and mirrored void on the right sections it off.

Also, the near side of the court has a lot of area open, especially if they move the benches to the other side. It is possible they are leaving the near side more open for fewer TV angle blockages, but if so, they are wasting a lot of space there. If they keep the row of chairs for a few high level fans like they do now, it is going to look real schotty with only 1 or 2 rows filling that void. The camera angle needs to be moved up further anyway, IMO.
I just hope this renovation is awesome when it is done. I fear a Meh experience might be coming together here.

Gray concrete space = bad.


The one thing as a student that I would like to see is the Orange Krush seating going all the way down to the actual court, hopefully they will make that standing room only or something but right now I sit in the front row of Krush and as this design stands my seat would be gone. I think I have the best seats in the joint and the closest to the bench for getting in the opposing teams head so I would love to see those seats retained plus the gray space just isn't very attractive.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:05 AM   #863
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Groce: 'Stay the same, you're gonna get lapped'

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When Groce took the Illinois job 11 months ago, part of the selling point was the renovation project. He had a vision for the building, understanding it was more than just a basketball venue.

The Illini hosted Penn State there on Thursday. Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert headlined a concert that Groce’s wife, Allison, attended Friday night in the Assembly Hall. On Saturday, the Illinois women hosted Indiana.

“I like that it’s multi-purpose, and the community should take pride in that,” Groce said. “Whether it’s concerts or the circus or Elmo or Sesame Street, convocation, commencement — the end of your time here at Illinois as a student — it should grab the student body, it should grab the community. It should be a sense of pride for Champaign-Urbana, and that’s our vision. We’ve still got a ways to go, but that’s our long-term hope for the building and for people to say those things when it’s finished.”

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Old Feb 24, 2013, 01:45 PM   #864
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Sorry, haven't read the entire thread, but is there a timetable of when they expect to begin construction and a projected time of completion?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 02:07 PM   #865
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Sorry, haven't read the entire thread, but is there a timetable of when they expect to begin construction and a projected time of completion?
March 2014 - August 2016. Construction in phases during the 3 basketball offseasons. Full renovation complete for the 2016-17 hoops season.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 03:09 PM   #866
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Thank you, Dan.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 03:39 PM   #867
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March 2014 - August 2016. Construction in phases during the 3 basketball offseasons. Full renovation complete for the 2016-17 hoops season.
What sort of progress could be expected after the first or second phase of renovation? How are they splitting it up?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 04:06 PM   #868
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What sort of progress could be expected after the first or second phase of renovation? How are they splitting it up?
That hasn't been released yet. Hopefully soon after the March 5th-6th student vote on the renovation fee, all the information will be announced.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 05:20 PM   #869
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March 2014 - August 2016. Construction in phases during the 3 basketball offseasons. Full renovation complete for the 2016-17 hoops season.
I posted about a year ago wondering if this would happen in my lifetime (hopefully kiddingly) even though the reported schedule at that time was January 2013. I'm still a little skeptical about this latest time frame until something is announced about naming rights/funding, but given that contracts are starting to be let, that gives some weight to the possibility of starting in a year.

I think a much better vibe around the program this year has to help get this in motion and unfortunately the fact that football doesn't have the same vibe, all the positive good will is focused on the south side of the street. Making the tourney and maybe winning a game would go a long way to seal the deal I think.

I'm hoping my son who is a Soph in high school is on campus for the completion!

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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:21 PM   #870
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Excuse my ignorance, but what effect does this renovation have on recruiting other than game day atmosphere? What attracts recruits are locker rooms, practice facilities, weight rooms, and dorms (wildcat lounge or whatever it's called) not padded seats in the stands and upgraded concessions and bathrooms. I'm not saying the Assesmbly Hall doesn't need this upgrade I'm just curious what, if anything, this does for recruiting. I haven't seen any details about upgraded locker rooms, training, rehab rooms in any of the plans.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:57 PM   #871
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Excuse my ignorance, but what effect does this renovation have on recruiting other than game day atmosphere? What attracts recruits are locker rooms, practice facilities, weight rooms, and dorms (wildcat lounge or whatever it's called) not padded seats in the stands and upgraded concessions and bathrooms. I'm not saying the Assesmbly Hall doesn't need this upgrade I'm just curious what, if anything, this does for recruiting. I haven't seen any details about upgraded locker rooms, training, rehab rooms in any of the plans.
I don't have the link but I know that Groce said something about how when recruits come into AH on a non gameday they hadly know that this is where the Illini play and he wants to show them what a great place assembly hall is. It just looks kind of bland with the gray seats, I know that if I was a recruit it would seem to me that there is a lot more excitement about a program with colored seats and big signage for the student section than one with gray seats all the way around.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 10:12 PM   #872
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I don't have the link but I know that Groce said something about how when recruits come into AH on a non gameday they hadly know that this is where the Illini play and he wants to show them what a great place assembly hall is. It just looks kind of bland with the gray seats, I know that if I was a recruit it would seem to me that there is a lot more excitement about a program with colored seats and big signage for the student section than one with gray seats all the way around.
I think a previous article mentioned a tunnel was being built with murals of great Illini players on the walls and all recruits would have to walk through it to get their gameday tickets. Plus, I think the article said the renovation is adding a small museum/display of Illini's basketball history (or am I making that up?).
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 11:03 PM   #873
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I don't have the link but I know that Groce said something about how when recruits come into AH on a non gameday they hadly know that this is where the Illini play and he wants to show them what a great place assembly hall is. It just looks kind of bland with the gray seats, I know that if I was a recruit it would seem to me that there is a lot more excitement about a program with colored seats and big signage for the student section than one with gray seats all the way around.
Yea I know and I remember that as well but that all ties into game day experience to me. Don't get me wrong, I think the colored seats, branding and signage is cool and unique but it's not nearly as important as cutting edge facilities that are there for the players use and benefit.

I'm not saying forget the fans and I don't oppose the renovation, I was just curious if there were any recruiting implications or upgrades beneficial to the players.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 11:06 PM   #874
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Yea I know and I remember that as well but that all ties into game day experience to me. Don't get me wrong, I think the colored seats, branding and signage is cool and unique but it's not nearly as important as cutting edge facilities that are there for the players use and benefit.

I'm not saying forget the fans and I don't oppose the renovation, I was just curious if there were any recruiting implications or upgrades beneficial to the players.
New locker rooms would definitely be involved in a renovation of any home arena. They're not going to spend $150M overhauling the place without putting in some nice locker-room eye candy for the recruits As for practice facilities, I know Ubben has been receiving some work lately and I'd imagine part of Mike Thomas' master plan is to continue working to make sure Ubben is as state-of-the-art as possible, too.

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Old Feb 25, 2013, 06:03 AM   #875
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Just returned from weekend concert at Mizzou a their new arena. I love AH, but I regretfully have to say that AH will never compete with a new arena, even with 150 mil in renovations. Mizzou arena is awesome, state of the art, huge concourses, first class facility. Now it appears small for bball capacity, but overall a top notch building. As much as I would miss the "giant mushroom" as I've called it since being a kid, give me a new arena, give me a great game day experience, and a shiny new recruiting tool for JG. Bash away all
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