The UIUC Convention Center expansion provides the campus and community with a dynamic event space that can hold more than 600 attendees at one time. The expansion adds 32,500 square feet to the facility, nearly doubling its size. The $13 million project includes a 12,500 square foot versatile exhibit hall space that can accommodate 750 guests for a reception and seating for up to 1200, and 140 additional parking spaces.
"The expansion of the Illinois Conference Center is the result of the university’s commitment to serve our students, staff, faculty, and the Champaign-Urbana community," said Danita M. B. Young, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. "The expanded Conference Center will serve as a gathering, learning, and networking space for a larger number of patrons than we have ever been able to engage with previously. The new modern facility will provide students with the opportunity to display and discuss what they are learning in classrooms and labs, gain access to expert speakers, and discover chances to expand their knowledge, thanks to the access the larger conference space will provide."
Located adjacent to the I-Hotel, the Conference Center has been a fixture in Champaign-Urbana since 2008. A public-private partnership, the Conference Center is owned and operated by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, while the hotel is owned and managed privately.
"The first exposure many people have with the Research Park is the I Hotel and Conference Center, which makes it an important part of our outreach," Research Park executive director Laura Frerichs said. "In addition to hosting companies and organizations for collaboration, conferences, and events, it is a place that bridges the university and the community."
The project addresses the concern that the community has been unable to cater to large conferences of 700+, including meetings of interest to Illinois faculty as well as meetings for Illinois-based associations and business.
The project was developed by Fox/Atkins Development, the development partner of the University of Illinois Research Park. The building will be LEED Silver Certified.