The Board of Trustees has approved schematic designs for the expansive Altgeld and Illini Hall Project, bringing closer to reality the $192 million plan to modernize and grow spaces devoted to data science and other mathematical sciences.
The project calls for the construction of a new building on the site of Illini Hall by 2023 and the renovation of Altgeld Hall by 2025. Some major project details that the board approved in its May meeting include:
- The construction of a six-floor, 140,000-square-foot building on the site of Illini Hall. The new building will contain activities affiliated with the Illinois Innovation Network, the C3.ai Digital Transformation Institute, and additional classroom and office space for the departments of Mathematics and Statistics. Designs call for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, which is the highest ranking by the U.S. Green Building Council.
- Restoring the historic nature of Altgeld Hall to its original vibrancy and making spaces more accessible. This includes structural repairs to the exterior—and the bell tower—and rebuilding a glass dome over the library in the same style as the original that was taken down in 1942. A new ADA-accessible entryway will be constructed on the east side of Altgeld Hall.
- Preserving and restoring roughly two-thirds of the library stacks in Altgeld Hall and adding a reading room with a glass wall view of the book collections. Books that are displaced by the renovation will be placed in storage. Students, faculty and staff will still be able to request items.
- The addition of seven new classrooms, including a large lecture hall in the new building. All undergraduate advising for the departments of Mathematics and Statistics will be located in a new student centered service area in Altgeld.
Schematic designs are, in effect, an overall visualization of the project. They are based upon conceptual designs that were created in late 2019 by the project’s architectural firms, CannonDesign and Bailey Edward. Now, with the board’s approval, architects will begin creating detailed blueprints for the project.
“It’s enormously exciting and significant that the Board of Trustees has approved schematic designs for the Altgeld and Illini Hall Project,” said Feng Sheng Hu, the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. “The vision for the project is clear. Now it’s a matter of making it happen.”
Derek Fultz, director of facilities for the College of LAS, said that once blueprints for the project are created, the contract will be granted to a construction firm following a bidding process. Demolition of Illini Hall is scheduled to begin in 2021.
In addition to the added classroom space, Fultz said, the project includes new and renovated spaces for collaboration as well as additional office space for the departments.
“This building is being designed to accommodate many years of continued growth for the departments,” he said.
Support for the project is coming from a mix of state funds, private and corporate donors, and campus funds. Joan Volkmann, associate dean for advancement for the College of LAS, said that naming opportunities will exist for several spaces in the new building and Altgeld Hall.