Wednesday, May 04, 2016

UIS breaks ground on first-ever student union building on campus

The University of Illinois Springfield broke ground on a new $21.7 million student union building on May 4, 2016. The first-ever student union will serve as a hub for student life and foster a greater sense of community on the growing campus.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen was joined by UIS Chancellor Susan Koch, and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder for the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Today marks a historic moment in the life of the Springfield campus,” said Koch. “This groundbreaking today is the culmination of years of planning, imagining, negotiating, campaigning, fundraising and I will admit, no small measure of strategic whining and complaining on the part of the Chancellor.”

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union will anchor the campus’s south quad, providing campus dining services, a coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that will house student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations. The facility is scheduled to open in January 2018.

"I'm deeply grateful to all of you for your generosity and support and to Susan and her team for their hard work and persistence to make this dream a reality," said Killeen.    

More than $5.3 million in gifts have been raised and officials say they will meet their $8 million fundraising goal before the facility opens. The remaining $13.7 million will be paid through campus funds and a construction fee that students approved in a 2012 referendum. 

“I want to thank our donors, some of whom are here today. As our donors know so well, a project like the Student Union is a big aspiration and we set a big fund-raising goal of $8 million to match that aspiration – an unheard of goal for this campus,” said Koch. 

The new facility will fill a void that officials say has grown since UIS became part of the University of Illinois system in 1995. The campus was originally founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University, catering to upperclassmen and graduate-level students, but is now a traditional four-year school that lacks the central gathering place that student unions provide at most colleges across the nation.

William Brothers Construction Inc. of Peoria will be the general contractor for the project. Subcontractors include E.L. Pruitt Co. of Springfield, Commercial Mechanical Inc. of Dunlap and Foster Jacob Electric Inc. of Peoria. Dewberry Architects of Peoria and Workshop Architects of Milwaukee, Wisconsin developed design plans for the new facility. 

Professional services will be provided by Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. of Springfield, TRC Worldwide Engineering, Inc. of Springfield, Massie Massie & Associates of Springfield, and Ricca Design Studios of Greenwood Village, Colorado. The building will be constructed to achieve U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold certification.

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