Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum Deemed Unsafe for Public Use

The Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum has deteriorated to the point the 115-year-old structure is no longer safe for public use, according to an engineering firm’s analysis obtained by a newspaper.

The 141-page report shows corrosion on steel support columns puts them at risk of “multiple failures.” The document also notes multiple roof leaks, loose or missing bolts and screws in support beams, peeling paint and mold.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register obtained the report through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Based on this observation, it is our opinion that the Coliseum should not be occupied until repairs have been made,” Hillsboro engineering firm Hurst-Roche Inc. said in its report to the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees state construction projects.

The popular venue in Springfield has been used for concerts, horse shows and other events. The Coliseum was shut down in October after workers found a loose ceiling beam. Events such as the Mid-America Mane Event Horse Show have been moved to other locations.

The report estimates it would cost nearly $3.7 million to fix the issues.

The Department of Agriculture has a $180 million backlog of maintenance and updates for state fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin.

“The department is still reviewing the documents from CDB to determine the best way forward in regards to repairs to the Coliseum,” the department said in a statement Friday. “In addition, the agency is drafting alternative plans to accommodate those who wish to use the Coliseum in the interim.”

The engineering firm’s report recommends replacing the Coliseum’s entire roof.

“Much of the wood and steel-roof framing is original construction,” the report said. “Very little of the roof structure has been replaced since originally constructed in 1901.”