June 2021 - 11

The teams housed there - women's
soccer and men's and women's track
and field and cross country - make
up more than 25 percent of the
school's overall student-athletes.
Conversations with the Demirjian
family, who provided a lead gift of $7
million for the project, started with
basketball and football, but the family
expressed interest in providing
funding for other sports, particularly
women's teams, Stillwell said.
Meanwhile, the women's soccer
team was dressing in locker rooms
in the administration building, far
from their practice and game day
fields. Visiting teams used tents and
port-a-potties. Similarly, the track
and field locker rooms were located
in the basement of The Armory, the
school's indoor track facility several
blocks away.
" There were no locker rooms or
spaces at all that they could utilize at
the outdoor track, " Stillwell said. " The
soccer program was undeserved, as
well. The (game day) field wasn't in
great shape and the practice field was
definitely in poor shape. "
The game-day soccer field had
previously been inside the track. After
its relocation, the oval was expanded
to a more traditional sweeping curve
with nine lanes and the finish line
was strategically placed against the
grandstand. As part of the overall $6
million track renovation, field events
were moved inside the oval, improving
the viewer experience.
" The track itself is one of the best
in the nation, " Stillwell said. " It has
the same surface that Oregon and
Kansas have. "
In between the track and the
soccer fields is a Demirjian
Stadium, designed for commingling.
A large recruiting/player lounge
runs its width to promote interaction
and collaboration between athletes
and teams. With its floor-to-ceiling
windows facing both playing
surfaces, it will also serve as a
space for donor events, athletic
meetings, and group gatherings. On
game days, it transforms into a
VIP lounge.
" It creates a communal gathering.
If they're there for breakfast
smoothies and hanging out they're
promoting team camaraderie and
they're present where coaches are, "
Stillwell said.
The coaches offices are on the
second floor, and downstairs are
locker rooms. Stillwell expects the
improved locker room proximity
to quickly pay dividends. The third
floor features a press box and media
broadcast center. There's also a
large classroom/meeting space
with a projection system, as well as
a smaller conference room, which
features a 98-inch flatscreen. The
walls glow with prominent orange
and Navy blue Illinois-themed
signage and graphics.
" We've created a home for them, "
Stillwell said. " Both programs really
didn't have a home. This provides an
identity and a place where they can
gather and call their own. "
Choose #105 online
COACHAD.COM 11
http://www.COACHAD.COM

June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2021

June 2021 - 1
June 2021 - 2
June 2021 - 3
June 2021 - 4
June 2021 - 5
June 2021 - 6
June 2021 - 7
June 2021 - 8
June 2021 - 9
June 2021 - 10
June 2021 - 11
June 2021 - 12
June 2021 - 13
June 2021 - 14
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June 2021 - 18
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