Metro-East News

Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum found unsafe for use


The Coliseum at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
The Coliseum at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Illinois Department of Agriculture

The popular Coliseum show-ring at the Illinois State Fairgrounds is unsafe for use, an investigation by The (Springfield) State Journal-Register revealed this week.

Steel columns supporting portions of the more than 100-year-old show-ring have deteriorated to the point where they could fail, according to a report obtained by the newspaper through a Freedom of Information Act request. An inspection of the 60,000-square-foot amphitheater found leaks in the roof, water damage, mold and other hazards.

Fairground operators closed the Coliseum in October after workers noticed a loose beam in the ceiling.

Fixing the Coliseum could cost upward of $3.7 million, according to the report by Hillsboro-based engineering firm Hurst-Rosche Inc. The Illinois Department of Agriculture estimates $180 million in repairs are already needed at the Springfield and Du Quoin state fairgrounds, according to the State Journal-Register.

The department told the Journal-Register that the department is reviewing documents from the report and is formulating plans to “accommodate those who wish to use the Coliseum in the interim.”