University of Illinois at Chicago and American Campus Communities Break Ground on Student Community

CHICAGO, IL - With enrollment hitting record-setting levels at the University of Illinois at Chicago this fall and projected numbers of new students climbing by as many as 10,000 over the next decade, a new “living-learning” community will be built to provide necessary residential and academic spaces for students.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the 10-story tower took place on Jan. 16, at 1:00 p.m. near Harrison and Morgan streets. The building will stand along I-290 adjacent to the Chicago Transit Authority’s recently renovated Peoria Street Bridge and Blue Line Station, with views of Chicago’s skyline.

The $100 million facility is part of a public-private partnership with American Campus Communities, an Austin, Texas-based company and the nation’s largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities. The project is financed primarily through a tax-exempt bond issuance with Collegiate Housing Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization, serving as the borrower and owner of the project. The development was designed by Chicago-based SCB architects.

“This new facility will revitalize campus housing and provide much-needed amenities to our students,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis. “By creating innovative public-private partnerships we are able to address our capital infrastructure needs in the current fiscal environment.”

By the time the building is finished in July of 2019, it will hold 83,000 square feet of residence space, housing 550 beds in a mix of traditional dorm rooms and suite-style units. Currently, there are nine dorms on the UIC campus, the last built in 2007.

In addition, the building will house 16,000 square feet of shared spaces including lounges for studying and student interaction, offices, laundry rooms, a fitness center, a 10th-floor sky lounge, as well as 1,600 square feet of retail space expected to house a coffee shop.

The plans also call for 51,000 square feet of academic space in the structure, including three large lecture halls, four classrooms, several small group study rooms, a tutoring center, computer stations and collaboration spaces.

“The new Academic and Residential Complex will give our students a place where they can engage and interact with their peers in an inviting, welcoming environment in the heart of Chicago and the West Loop neighborhood,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J. Rex Tolliver. “Enhancing the student experience is one of our top priorities and it’s what makes UIC a first-rate option for students and their families.”

“UIC is a forward-thinking educational institution, fiercely pursuing its mission set forth by Chancellor Amiridis to provide an innovative residential experience for its students,” said Jamie Wilhelm, American Campus Communities executive vice president of public-private partnerships. “We’re thrilled to partner with UIC to bring one of the leading mixed-use student developments in the country to fruition.”

The project is part of a new decade-long master plan to bolster the physical development of UIC. The plan is in the final stage of development and addresses the university’s capital infrastructure needs as total enrollment – including graduate and professional students – continues to grow, exceeding 30,500 students this fall for the first time in UIC’s history. Undergraduate students also showed an 8.3 percent increase from 2016 figures, including a 23 percent increase in new freshmen.

To meet the needs of the increasing number of students enrolled in engineering and computer science programs, UIC also broke ground in November for a 50,000-square-foot Engineering Innovation Building that will house instructional space, research labs and staff offices. It will also include the university’s first high-bay structural research lab where researchers can perform tests on large-scale structures.

The building, near Taylor and Morgan streets, will concentrate the College of Engineering in one area on the east side of campus by the fall of 2019. It will provide room for the chemical, mechanical and industrial engineering, as well as the civil and materials engineering departments.

Additional infrastructure projects are in the planning phase and will be presented as part of the overall master plan later this spring.