Atkins Group donates Stone Creek Golf Club to UI

By Connor Ciecko

The Atkins Group, owner of more than 300 acres of land in Urbana, including the Stone Creek Golf Club, has donated the property to the University of Illinois, the university said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The 190-acre public golf course is currently the home of the Illini men’s and women’s golf teams and will now be operated by the Department of Illinois Athletics, reopening to the public beginning in 2021. At the beginning of the year, The Atkins Group made the decision to close the course, citing a lessened demand for golf and climbing costs of operation at the facility. The university began working with them at that time to explore options for keeping the course open.

“We are so grateful to Susie, Spencer, Todd, Suzette, and the entire Atkins family for their continued generosity to the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini Athletics,” said Josh Whitman, director of Illinois athletics. “Working with them to develop the full breadth of this remarkable gift has been a true pleasure. We are excited about the future of the golf course and the benefits it will have for our varsity golf programs and, of equal importance, our entire community.”

The course will remain closed for the rest of this year for improvements and will be reopened next spring with the plan to return all facilities to operation, including the restaurant, pro shop and other hospitality spaces. As a part of this redevelopment plan, the university will be making improvements to the facilities to better suit the golf programs and will be creating new amenities exclusively for use by varsity athletes. The course will also be renamed The Atkins Golf Club at the University of Illinois.

In addition to the golf course, the donation also included more than 100 residential lots, commercial land and 70 acres of undeveloped land. It is the hope that these lots will positively benefit both the university and the city of Urbana through income and tax revenues.

“The only thing that exceeds the generosity of this gift by the Atkins family is the positive impact it will have on our university and on our local community for decades to come,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. “We’re excited that we have a permanent home for our golf teams, but also about the impact it will have on our local economy and for the support it will provide to many other university programs.”

The Atkins family has made a number of donations to the university over the years, including funding for the Atkins Tennis Center and the new Susan and Clint Atkins Basketball Training Center, scheduled to open in 2021.

Photo by Illinois Athletics

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