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After 145 years, Marching Illini Come Home

After well over a century without a permanent place to practice the Marching Illini will finally put down some roots next year.

The University of Illinois marching band is said to be the country’s oldest college marching band. But since its start in 1868 it’s never had its own practice spot.

Band Director Barry Houser tells The (Champaign) News-Gazette that he’s ecstatic over a plan to move the band’s practices to a new artificial turf field on the west side of campus in 2014.

The band will share the field with Campus Recreation. That department will pay $3 million to put down the turf.

Work should start in January and be finished by next summer.

The band was founded in 1868. That’s just a year after the school opened.