Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

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June 28, 2014

Local construction firm has large role in U of I renovation project

EFFINGHAM — The State Farm Center in Champaign, built more than 50 years ago as the University of Illinois Assembly Hall, is undergoing massive renovations and an Effingham construction company is playing a key role in the $165 million project.

Grunloh Construction’s role in the renovation brings back memories for owner Tom Grunloh, who played in “The Hall” as a member of the 1978 St. Anthony High School basketball team that finished fourth in the Class A state basketball tournament that year.

“It’s a fun thing to be a part of, and we can’t always say that,” Grunloh said.

Grunloh’s role in the project is $47 million and includes work to be done over two years. This summer, company personnel are digging two 25-foot deep basements on the east and west sides of the building that will house the building’s mechanical systems.

But that’s just the prelude. Following the conclusion of the 2014-15 University of Illinois basketball season, Grunloh Construction will play a major role in a complete renovation of the State Farm Center interior.

“That’s when it really gets going,” Grunloh said.

Not only will the entire interior of the building be reconfigured, but the top, or C, level will be converted into suites.

State Farm Center renovation is only one construction project underway on the U of I campus.

Other projects include a $95 million renovation of the Electrical and Computer Engineering facility, a $73 million renovation of the Natural History museum, and a $14 million center for wounded veterans.

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