- Steven Burke
Western Hall – Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks
Photo Courtesy of Western Illinois Athletics
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Western Hall 713 Congress Ave Macomb, IL 61455
Western Illinois Fighting Leathernecks website
Year Opened: 1964
Rural Illinois Oasis
Macomb, Illinois home of Western Illinois University has all of the feel of a small southern college town. As you approach Macomb you will need to drive through several rural miles of interstate followed by another 20 plus miles of country highways before you see the small quintessential college town. Macomb is a place where the school and the town are intertwined into a singular culture.
The basketball teams play in a very unique venue known as Western Hall. It’s a smaller arena with seating that folds out from the walls. Newly renovated and comfortable seating is found throughout the venue.
The Leathernecks play their home games in the Western Hall, a venue that seats 5,139 and was opened in 1964. Western Hall was renovated prior to the 2016-2017 season making the game experience more enjoyable.
Food & Beverage 1
There is only one concession stand at Western Hall with a limited selection. You can find a hot dog for $2, nachos for $2, popcorn for $1, or a candy bar $1.
Beverage choices consist of 20 ounce Coke product, Powerade, or bottle of water. Each option is only $2.
The renovations completed in 2016 at a cost of $1 million consisted of the complete removal and replacement of the lower bleachers and renovation of the north balcony bleachers. The sections of seats at center court have additional padding and all of the new seats which have seat backs provide ample legroom.
On each end there are purple plastic bleachers with the pep band on the opponents end and the student section on the end nearest the Leathernecks’ bench. With the low ceiling of Western Hall when the crowd and band get going the building can produce a great environment for college basketball.
The best part of a trip to Macomb for a basketball game takes place a mile or so away from the arena. Downtown Macomb has a cute little square where you will find several options to grab some grub.
Closer to campus is a great option known as Chubby’s which has the feeling of a small college town bar which also has good food. The Italian Beef sandwich and the chili are both very good. Chubby’s is known for their shoes which you can top with almost any toppings imaginable.
The student section known as the “Purple Haze,” seems pretty involved in the game and adds to the environment. The community seems involved as well, adding to the environment and making it a true college town feel.
While it takes some time to get to campus once you exit the interstate the good news is that parking is free and the lot is large. Once arriving in Macomb all of campus is easily accessible, however it is quite a drive once you exit the interstate.
Return on Investment 4
General admission tickets are only $10, and for just $5 more you can get a reserved seat. Premium seats will run a bit more at $22. You can also purchase a kids ticket at a discounted rate. The entire experience is very affordable.
The fact that the bulldog mascot can be found in many forms around the arena. There’s the inflatable version in the corner near the pep band. There’s the typical costumed mascot who makes the rounds high-fiving spectators. Finally, there’s the live leashed version that takes laps around the arena pre-game, and then settles in to watch the game.
A bit of cost savings exhibited well here as the video boards are mobile and are moved between Western Hall and the football stadium depending on which sport is in season.
If you are looking for a good college town environment visit Macomb where the school and community are nicely intertwined.