Top of the Morning, Aug. 2, 2018

Top of the Morning, Aug. 2, 2018

An avid runner, BARRY HOUSER isn't worried about daily trips to the top of the brand new RONALD and PAULA FILLER Marching Illini Instructional Tower, some 60 feet high in the heart of campus.

"In another 20 years," the energetic Marching Illini director said, "we're talking about a different story."

As N-G multimedia specialist ANTHONY ZILIS discovered Wednesday, reaching the top deck is a haul. Zilis and Houser walked the hundreds of steps as part of a video at news-gazette.com that introduces an imposing gem that opens Aug. 20. It provides a safe, durable and trend-setting practice setting for one of the UI's most recognizable programs.

Houser is as proud as the tower is tall.

"For the band program, there's a great bit of pride," he said. "There were a lot of naysayers at first: 'Why do they need this?' 'They can't raise that kind of money.'

"I guess we proved them wrong."