Timelines for Altgeld and Illini Hall Project come into focus

$192 million building and renovation project scheduled to conclude in 2026

The future of Altgeld Hall and Illini Hall is coming into focus as the University of Illinois moves forward with detailed planning for the $192 million project to modernize and grow spaces devoted to data science and other mathematical and statistical sciences.

Altgeld HallThe Board of Trustees approved schematic designs for the Altgeld and Illini Hall Project in May 2020, and planners have been creating more specific designs, plans, and schedules since then. Bidding for the demolition of Illini Hall, which will make way for a new, six-story, 140,000-square-foot building to the west of Altgeld Hall, is scheduled to open in March. Demolition is scheduled to occur from July 2021 until April 2022.

Construction of the new building will begin immediately after demolition, with completion scheduled for February 2024.

Meanwhile, bidding for the first phase of renovations to Altgeld Hall—which will include structural and access enhancements for the chimes tower—will begin in June 2021. Renovation work for the first phase is scheduled to begin in October 2021 and conclude in December 2022. Most of the building will remain open and occupied during the first phase of renovation.

Bidding for the second phase of the Altgeld renovation—the rest of the building—will begin in November 2023, with site work scheduled to begin in March 2024 and conclude in June 2026. That will mark the end of the entire two-building project.

The timeline for the project is still subject to minor changes as there are many phases of review and assessment by campus, the architecture firm, CannonDesign, and the Illinois Capital Development Board.

A conceptual rendering of the exterior of the new Illini Hall

A conceptual rendering of the exterior of the new Illini Hall, viewed from the southeast. (Image by CannonDesign.)

“We are pleased to be moving ahead with this important project,” said Derek Fultz, director of facilities for the College of LAS. “Staying on course for this project has been complicated by the fact that we’ve had to direct energy to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, but we feel very strongly that this is important to the future of the College of LAS and the university, so we’ve worked hard to keep plans moving.”

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 seven new classrooms in the new building, including a large auditorium. Designs also call for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, which is the highest ranking by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Workers will restore the historic nature of Altgeld Hall to its original vibrancy and make spaces more accessible. This includes structural repairs to the exterior—including the bell tower, which will be closed temporarily for the work—and rebuilding a glass dome over the library in the same style as the original that was taken down in 1942. A reading room with a glass wall will provide a view of the book collections, and all undergraduate advising in mathematics and statistics will be located in a new student-centered service area in Altgeld.

Dave Evensen

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