Architecture firm hired for Altgeld Hall and Illini Hall project

The University of Illinois has hired a Chicago design firm to begin planning the Altgeld Hall and Illini Hall project to modernize learning spaces and increase capacity in data science and other mathematical sciences.

During their March meeting, the Board of Trustees approved CannonDesign to conceptualize and create schematic designs for the project, which will include the construction of a new building on the site of Illini Hall, and the renovation of Altgeld Hall. Campus officials expect the new building to be constructed by 2022, and for the renovation of Altgeld to be complete by 2024.

Altgeld Hall

A Chicago design firm will prepare architectural plans for the renovation of Altgeld Hall and the construction of a new building on the site of Illini Hall.

Once the schematic designs are complete—which will provide basically an overall visualization of the project—they will be brought back to the Board of Trustees for review. If the board approves, CannonDesign will proceed with planning the details of the project. The total design contract amount is estimated to be $4.4 million.

CannonDesign is the same firm that designed the renovation of Lincoln Hall, which was completed in 2012. It has also designed projects at several other universities, including the student union at the University of Florida, a residence hall at Boston University, the law school library tower at the University of Chicago, a chemistry laboratory renovation at Yale University, and many more.

“We are very pleased that the trustees approved CannonDesign for the Altgeld Hall and Illini Hall project,” said Derek Fultz, director of facilities for the College of LAS who also served on the selection committee that recommended the firm. “We fully expect the buildings to display the same, high levels of creativity and practicality that CannonDesign has provided in the past.”

Campus is still raising money for the Altgeld Hall and Illini Hall project. The new building will be constructed on the site of Illini Hall, which is scheduled to be razed at the corner of South Wright and East John streets beginning in fall 2020. It will be replaced with a larger, world-class facility for learning and discovery, including a data science center that does not currently exist on campus.

The new building will be an advanced classroom and research facility focused on creating knowledge through mathematics, statistics, data science, and machine learning. The departments of Mathematics and Statistics will continue to use space in the new building.

The new building will be funded in part with a portion of the $500 million in state capital funding that was approved last spring to launch the Illinois Innovation Network and Discovery Partners Institute. The university will also contribute to the new building.

The Altgeld Hall renovation will receive funding from campus in addition to funding from donations and other sources, some of which has already been secured. The building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places means that certain historic features will be restored, while new features will be added to increase energy efficiency and accessibility.  State-of-the-art classroom space will be created to improve the learning environment for the thousands of students who take classes in Altgeld Hall each semester.

The renovation of Altgeld Hall will begin when construction of the new building is complete. Built in 1897, Altgeld Hall is the second oldest building on campus. It was named for former Illinois Governor John Altgeld and formerly served as the original university library and law school before becoming home to the Department of Mathematics. It was last renovated in 1956.

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