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Illinois State’s 10-year vision includes building construction and renovation

McCormick Hall

If you are planning on visiting campus in the near future, get ready to see some changes.  Richard Runner, director of Facilities Planning, said not only are there a large number of construction projects currently underway, but a tremendous amount of construction activity will continue over the next five to 10 years.

In the last decade, Illinois State constructed the Science Laboratory building and the College of Business (COB) building, renovated Schroeder Hall and began a renovation of university residence halls.  Wilkins Hall was the first residence hall to receive a new roof, exterior windows, renovation of all bathrooms and mechanical systems and creation of suites on each of the floors.  Haynie Hall will reopen for fall semester with similar renovations, Wright Hall is being renovated this academic year and the renovations will then shift to East Campus.  The East Campus Residence Hall Complex will get a new entrance linking both buildings in the area currently inhabited by Vrooman Dining Center, which will be renovated into lounge spaces, meeting rooms and team rooms for student and academic activities.

Dunn and Barton Halls

‘We will renovate Linkins Dining Center in West Campus starting in January,” Runner said.  “The design will allow Campus Dining Services to bring much of the cooking into a food-court atmosphere where students can watch their food being prepared at a series of stations with food from different nations. The entrance will be changed to the lower level, with a central staircase up to the food preparation area and inviting, dine-in areas.”

Renovation of Stevenson and Turner Halls will start next summer.  The three-phase project will primarily address fire and life-safety building deficiencies, but due to asbestos abatement, new light fixtures and floor surfaces will be installed in both buildings and Turner will get a new roof.  Runner said the additions will create a different look and feel to the buildings, which should be completed by 2010. Faculty offices and some classes will temporarily move to Williams Hall, which has seen limited use since the College of Business moved into their new building.

The biggest change to campus will begin in the next two to five years when Walker Hall, Dunn-Barton Hall and McCormick Hall are decommissioned and razed, and a new Student Recreation and School of Kinesiology and Recreation building constructed.  Runner said the building “will be the biggest in terms of footprint the University has ever built.”  He said it will be as large as Redbird Arena and perhaps as tall as the COB building, but emphasized they will design it to “fit in, so as not to make it an overpowering building.”  He said the building would be in the preferred campus architectural style with a Georgian flavor and will have lots of glass and windows.  Preliminary plans call for the building to consist of two buildings separated by University Street, with an overhead, enclosed, pedestrian bridge similar to the one that connects Julian Hall and the Science Laboratory building.  The large activity spaces will be on the west side of University with gyms, pools, climbing walls and activity courts.

“We are exploring the option of saving some portion of the McCormick Hall façade that faces the Quad,” Runner said.  “We think it is intriguing to try to keep a small portion of the original campus gymnasium building.”

Other current and planned construction projects include:

  • Moving the tennis courts to Gregory Street
  • Constructing the University’s fourth parking deck adjacent to the existing deck on University Street, which is adjacent to the University Housing Services building
  • Constructing a southeast zoned chiller to provide chilled water to Stevenson Hall, Watterson Towers and Watterson Commons
  • Renovating Bone Student Cener by moving and expanding some retail spaces, opening up the building interior by bringing natural light into the building, constructing new and different dining options and creating additional meeting spaces
  • Replacing the Hancock Stadium field turf as well as redoing all of the underground drainage and surfaces that surround the football field

Long-term campus renovation will include an expansion to property that used to be the University Farm.  Runner said preliminary plans include expanding campus along the Gregory Street property for various university programs and activities.  Additional uses of the property might include physical education and recreation fields and student residences.  When completed, the Gregory Street property has the potential of expanding the existing Illinois State campus by 30 percent.

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