APR 10, 2019 8:30 AM
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Campus Instructional Facility Project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will add 122,000 square feet of instructional space at the southeast corner of Springfield Avenue and Wright Street in Urbana.
The project is an example of a new public-private partnership model available to the university that allows for tax-exempt financing. In this agreement, a nonprofit entity works with a developer, architect, engineer and construction manager. Vermilion Development is the developer for the project, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is the architect.
The Illinois Finance Authority assists in issuing bonds to pay for the project, and the university leases the building from the developer until the bonds are paid in full. The U. of I. will take ownership of the facility in no later than 30 years.
“Public-private partnerships provide a strategic opportunity for our university,” said Paul Ellinger, the associate chancellor and vice provost for budget and resource planning. “This financing model allows Illinois to provide cutting-edge spaces on an expedited timeline to benefit our students and faculty.”
Estimated to cost $75 million, the project will begin construction this summer and is planned to be finished by early 2021, with the first classes held there in fall 2021.
The project has been designated LEED Gold, a certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The east and west sides of the building will feature walls of windows made of smart glass technology that controls incoming light. The Student Sustainability Committee is providing $250,000 to help fund the building’s geothermal energy system. These measures will conserve energy and reduce costs in the long term.
“Innovative education is at the heart of what we do,” said Rashid Bashir, the dean of the College of Engineering. “The Campus Instructional Facility Project will be a space for supporting that education through pedagogy experiments, classroom technologies and professional development for the next generation.”
The building will include collaborative spaces on each of the four floors and basement, distance-learning classrooms and a “test kitchen” approach to classroom layouts, designed to evolve over time. There will be a groundbreaking event at the site Friday, April 12 at 2 p.m.
Classes taught in the building will initially include engineering, math and statistics, but the building is intended to serve and be utilized by students from multiple disciplines. It will include more than 23 general classrooms of various sizes and configurations and seven team rooms for collaboration. In addition to the study spaces, the building will accommodate student career fairs, TED talks, hack-a-thons and simulcast events.
“Providing transformative teaching and learning experiences requires innovative instructional facilities for our students and our faculty,” Provost Andreas Cangellaris said. “The Campus Instructional Facility Project will inspire and enable innovations in interactive and immersive learning that promotes collaboration and teamwork among our students, no matter where they happen to be in place and time.”
Source: Illinois News Bureau