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Illinois football program gets millions to build new center

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois Foundation is getting a $20 million donation, including $15 million for the Fighting Illini Football Performance Center.

The money is coming from the H.D. Smith Foundation. Henry Dale Smith started H.D. Smith, a medical wholesale company based in Springfield, Illinois.

Chris and Dale Smith say they’re honoring their late father and mother Betty and the couple’s passion for Illinois football.

The Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center will be a 107,000-square-foot facility with space for strength and conditioning, sports medicine, locker rooms, offices for coaches and more. Construction will be completed before the 2019 season.

The Smith Foundation’s gift also includes $3 million for athletes to return and complete their degrees.

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