Project details

Altgeld Hall was last significantly renovated in 1956

A few things have happened since then: the Alma Mater statue moved out front in 1962. The first consumer laptop was released in 1985, and the World Wide Web went mainstream in 1990. The campus introduced i-cards in 2002. In 2010, the campus opened the most accessible dorm for students with disabilities in the country.

This project will renovate both Altgeld and Illini Halls. It will create 22,000 square feet of new or modernized classroom space and 11,000 square feet of space for growth for the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics, an increase of 25 percent. Increased capacity and modernized learning spaces will benefit all Illinois students who study in these buildings.

The renovations will also encourage sustainability and accessibility. The project is targeting LEED Gold certification for both buildings through the
U.S. Green Building Council. Both buildings will be made accessible to all students.

And though both Altgeld and Illini Halls will be modernized, the project also focuses on restoration. It will restore mosaics, murals, and woodwork in Altgeld Hall’s magnificent library, and it will restore Altgeld’s sandstone exterior to its original condition.

Illini Hall will be transformed into a world-class facility for innovation and discovery in the mathematical sciences. Restoration of the first floor will include the creation of a new large common space for collaboration and research.

Renderings from feasibility study

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are these spaces being renovated at the same time?

Altgeld and Illini Halls serve together as home of the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics. In the last 10 years, enrollment in both departments’ courses has increased 40 percent. The project will expand Illini Hall to accommodate both departments’ growth. It will also provide faculty and students with flexible and modern spaces for interdisciplinary learning and discovery.

How is the project being funded?

The projected cost of the renovations is expected to range between $90 and $100 million. Funding will come from the state, campus, and the generous support of alumni, friends, and corporate donors.

Project timeline

Campus is still raising money for the renovation of Altgeld and Illini Halls, but has already completed a feasibility study on the project. Construction is expected to begin in the next few years.

What specific renovations and restorations will take place in Altgeld Hall?

  • The pink sandstone exterior of Altgeld Hall will be cleaned to bring out the original color, as befits the backdrop for the Alma Mater and the historic front door of the university.
  • Interior surfaces, such as the intricate floor mosaics, murals, paintings, and woodwork, will be restored to their historic beauty.
  • Restoration of the Mathematics Library to its historic grandeur will include replacing missing glass floor panels in the stacks and restoring the open appearance of the colonnade to the east. (If you have specific questions about the Mathematics Library renovations or are interested in related giving opportunities, please contact Assistant Dean of Libraries for Advancement Scott Koeneman or Director of Advancement Tiffany Rossi.)
  • If funding permits, the library renovation will also include installation of a back-lit ornamental glass dome to illuminate the atrium properly for the first time since the original glass dome was removed in 1942.
  • Heating and air conditioning will be replaced throughout the building, vastly increasing energy efficiency, improving the classroom environment, and protecting the valuable collection of the Mathematics Library.
  • A second elevator will be added to make all portions of Altgeld Hall accessible, honoring the University of Illinois’ historic commitment to persons with disabilities.

What specific renovations will take place in Illini Hall?

  • A new western addition and a complete reconfiguring of existing offices will allow the faculty, instructors, postdocs, upper-level graduate students, and emeritus faculty to have office space in the same building.
  • Classrooms, seminar rooms, and informal conversation and tutoring spaces on every floor will foster a collaborative environment.
  • A colloquium room will accommodate public lectures by distinguished visitors.
  • The wood ceiling beams, fireplace, arches, and terrazzo floor on the first floor of Illini Hall will be restored to their original 1920s grandeur to create a large open space for collaboration and research. Common spaces like this are the intellectual and social center of the world’s great mathematics institutes.

What does the renovation mean in terms of numbers?

  • It will modernize 18,000 square feet of classroom space and create 4,400 square feet of new classroom space, appropriate for interactive learning.
  • It will create 5,300 square feet of space for collaborative instruction and research, an increase of 150 percent.
  • It will unlock 11,000 square feet of new space for growth in the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics.

How does Altgeld Hall’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places affect the renovation?

The work in Altgeld Hall will place a high priority on preservation because of the building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, while creating state-of-the-art classroom space for the thousands of students who take classes there each year.

The historic north entrance to the building will provide the front door to the Department of Mathematics, leading students and visitors to the Mathematics Library on the main floor, and to the Mathematics administration, business, and advising spaces on the upper levels.