Siebel Center for Design prepares to open in fall

The+Siebel+Center+for+Design+sits+quietly+at+1208+S.+Fourth+Street+in+Champaign%2C+Illinois+on+Sunday+afternoon.+The+collaborative+space+will+open+to+students+in+the+fall.%0A

Lanie Hibel

The Siebel Center for Design sits quietly at 1208 S. Fourth Street in Champaign, Illinois on Sunday afternoon. The collaborative space will open to students in the fall.

By Olivia Vamos, Staff Writer

The Siebel Center for Design is located on 1208 S. Fourth Street in Champaign and will open to students this fall.
The building will be a collaborative space with several unique features according to Lisa Bralts, associate director of Marketing and Kendra Wieneke, associate director of Business Development and Advancement.
“We will have social events, making events, lectures and speaker series, either that we’re doing or we’re doing in collaboration with other campus partners,” Wieneke said. “And then with all this collaboration space we will be hosting project teams, RSOs as well as just a great place to study, hang out and get inspired.”
All kinds of people using the facility are encouraged to visit, regardless of their major or academic status. Bralts and Wieneke said they want people to know that the Siebel Center for Design is open to all. However, to use equipment in the maker space, a student must receive permission. Supervision and training will be provided.
Bralts said there are currently two classes in Course Explorer that will take place in the Siebel Center for the fall semester.
Gail Rost, research assistant at the Siebel Center for Design, is also a doctorial student in Art Education. She said that work at the Siebel Center for Design “tends to be very fast paced and we work with faculty, and we work with students and we’ve been doing more and more work with the community.”
The resources at the Siebel Center for Design aren’t limited to the inside. There is an outside terrace as well.
“Eventually we will have furniture outside where you can meet a friend or do work outside,” Bralts said. “Most buildings on campus don’t have grounds the way The Siebel Center for Design does.”
Wieneke said the building cost $48 million. Most of the funding came from donations by Tom Siebel.
“(Tom Siebel) made the lead gift of $25 millions to support and name the center,” Wieneke said. “The rest of the funding came from campus.”
Wieneke said a lot of thought was put into the design of the building.
“The way that the building was designed was around three things — inspiration, ideation and implementation,” Wieneke said. “The inspiration and the ideation stuff are upstairs. We’ve got art, music, a media studio, study space, lots of windows, scenery. (As for ideation), we’ve got areas for ideation for brainstorming, for project work, for collaboration.”
Both Wieneke and Bralts said COVID-19 has made it difficult to open the center. However, they said they adapted.
“Just like anyone else, we constantly have to pivot and come up with something new and come up with new ideas to be responsive to what’s going on, which even though things are sort of generally looking up who knows now,” Wieneke said.
Overall, Wieneke said she hopes students utilize and appreciate the work that went into creating The Siebel Center for Design.
“I hope (people) feel like they belong here and I hope they feel comfortable and understand that it’s for them,” Wieneke said. “And then when they’re here I hope they get inspired and are able to develop creative confidence, and come up with ideas they wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.”

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