Monday, February 27, 2017

UIS student union about half done; January opening planned

Students at the University of Illinois Springfield voted 432-109 in April 2012 to raise fees toward the now $21.7 million estimated cost of a Student Union to be constructed south of the Main Quad and major academic buildings.

Opening is planned for January 2018.

Here are project highlights:

What will be included? -- The 50,000-square-foot center has two levels and a mezzanine. Features will include a lounge, game room, food-service operations, sports grill, convenience store, Welcome Desk, Student Leadership Center, meeting and conference rooms, and a ballroom; there also will be outdoor seating and fire pits. Starbucks plans a cafe on the mezzanine level.

Will it be open to the public? -- Yes. In addition to serving as a gathering place for students and faculty, the ballroom, conference areas and meeting rooms will be available for community events.

How is the building designed? -- Chief design firm Dewberry Architects of Peoria describes an "open" look with large, transparent spaces, outside terracing, multi-use areas, and a two-story open lounge. The center will have a "living roof" of vegetation -- likely wildflowers -- on a sloped membrane that also will provide insulation. The Student Union also will have a rainwater reclamation system.

Where does construction stand? -- The project is about 50 percent complete, with much of the exterior finished.

What will become of the existing Public Affairs Center? -- The university is considering new uses for the PAC, once the Student Union is completed.

The state of Illinois has no budget. Who is paying? -- An increase in student fees and other existing funds will cover approximately $13.7 million of the cost, with fundraising covering $8 million. Higher student fees take effect when the Student Union opens.

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 26, 2017.

Read the entire article online.