Summertime means construction time at Chicago universities

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • June 01, 2009 @ 2:00 PM

Colleges across the city are tackling summer construction projects large and small, now that most campuses have finished their 2008-2009 academic years.

DePaul University will finish renovating a vintage office building at 14 E. Jackson Boulevard, a $20 million project that will add classrooms, a theater and film studio, spokesman John Holden says.

The building will add 120,000 square feet of space to DePaul’s Loop campus.

The project began last summer and will mostly be complete in time for the fall term, Holden says. The building will house many of DePaul’s adult education programs and will be the new home for the College of Communications.

“Most of the work we’re going to be doing is really being focused on the 14 E. Jackson building,” Holden says.

About $1.3 million of the money being spent on the 14 E. Jackson building is for the film production facility, which will include a theater and studio space, Holden says.

At its Lincoln Park campus, DePaul is doing a $1 million summer renovation of the Levan-O’Connell academic buildings at Belden and Kenmore avenues. The buildings'  science labs no longer are needed now that DePaul's new science building has opened. The labs in Levan-O’Connell will be converted to standard classrooms, and the buildings also will get mechanical, electrical and ventilation upgrades, Holden says.

At Loyola University’s campus in Rogers Park, a yearlong project to convert a first-year dorm into classrooms and offices begins this summer, spokeswoman Annie Hughes says.

Coffey Hall previously housed about 200 freshman each year. Once its renovation is complete next summer, it will hold academic offices for the anthropology, political science, psychology and sociology departments, Hughes says.

Work is ongoing at Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, too. By next spring, a new building at 20-24 E. Chicago Ave. will be connected to the existing building at 25 E. Pearson, which is to the north on the same block. The new building will add 15 classrooms.

The brain-shaped Behavioral Science Building at the University of Illinois at Chicago also is under construction this summer.

Concrete terraces on the second and third floors of the building will be rebuilt to fix leaks and add vegetation and plants. The $1.5 million renovation also will add ramps and other features to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Work should be done by December, UIC officials say.


Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.