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Costs on Illinois Facility Project Jump 50 Percent

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The University of Illinois’ planned track and soccer complex might cause a case of sticker shock after it was reported that the price of the facility jumped by 50 percent.

The Champaign News-Gazette reports that the facility, which will include two new grass soccer fields, dual grandstands, and a 16,800-square-foot building to support the programs was originally estimated to cost just under $14 million. Now, costs are expected to be north of $20 million, with a variety of factors being blamed for the spike.

First of all, there’s competition. The school reportedly received fewer bids for contracts than it anticipated, in part because of other construction projects — including renovated high schools, new apartment buildings and other university projects — taking place in the area at the moment. With so much demand, firms are able to increase prices to match it.

“There’s about $300 million in construction projects going on in our market right now,” athletic department spokesperson Kent Brown told the News-Gazette. “One of the issues that you run into is that lack of a work force to cover all of those jobs.”

The planned site also presented some unexpected problems. Soil conditions were reportedly not ideal for construction, and a consultant hired to put together original pricing models was inaccurate in doing so.

Finally, the issue of commodity prices — namely steel and aluminum — also played a role in the project’s rising costs. Tariffs on those goods are partly to blame.

The project is slated to be opened piece by piece, with the soccer facilities being complete prior to next season, and the track side being ready in spring 2021 prior to the Big Ten championships.

The board of trustees will be asked to approve the new cost of the facility at a meeting next week.

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