Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Memorial Stadium (Champaign)
Memorial Stadium is a football stadium located in Champaign, Illinois, on the campus of the University of Illinois. The stadium is dedicated as a memorial to the Illinois men and women who died in World War I. The primary use of the stadium is to host the University's football intercollegiate athletics team.
Memorial Stadium was completed in 1923 at a cost of US$ 1.7 million. The original construction was financed with donations from University students, alumni, and others. At the time, the stadium consisted of double-decked stands on the east and west sidelines. The single-decked horseshoe around the south end zone was later completed, and temporary bleachers stand in the north end zone. The arena was heavily renovated between 1985-1994.
The stadium is dedicated to the men and women of the state of Illinois that gave their lives serving in World War I. The east and west sides of the stadium have 200 columns that display the names of these men and women.
The stadium was officially dedicated on October 18, 1924, on which the University football team played a homecoming game against the University of Michigan. That day, Red Grange scored five touchdowns in one of the greatest single-game performances in football history.
The seating capacity of the stadium's permanent seating, including the north end zone bleachers, is 70,904. The east and west grandstands each hold 18,000 patrons on the first level, and 10,000 in each balcony. The south end zone "horseshoe" holds 12,246.
The stadium's highest single event attendance was 78,297, for a football game against the University of Missouri in 1984.
- The football playing surface within the stadium is named Zuppke Field, in honor of Robert Zuppke, the University of Illinois head football coach from 1913 to 1941.
- The north end of Zuppke Field hosts The Grange Rock, a tribute to Red Grange. The tribute was dedicated on October 22, 1994, with Mrs. Margaret Grange, Red Grange's wife, in attendance. The rock came from the same Indiana quarry that produced the stadium's columns.
- The Ray Eliot Varsity Room is named for Ray Eliot , the University of Illinois head football coach from 1942 to 1959.
- In 2002, the stadium also hosted the NFL's Chicago Bears while Soldier Field was being renovated.
- During the winter months, an inflatable practice dome known as "the bubble" is inflated over the field, to allow for semi-indoor practice facilities.
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