New Illini Media Company building to bring media closer to campus

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Se Young Lee

Illini Media Company student employees, alumni, staff and board members raised champagne glasses and blew kazoos in a toast Sunday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of the future Illini Media Building.

The four-story building, which will be located at 512 E. Green St., will house all five units of IMC – Buzz, the Illio yearbook, Technograph engineering magazine, The Daily Illini and WPGU-FM 107.1. The site was a former parking lot owned by the City of Champaign.

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Attendees wore faux hard hats and chatted while mimes traveled from table to table during the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. IMC student managers and members of the Illini Media Board of Directors posed shoveling dirt. Student managers placed shovels representing their units alongside the dirt pile.

Ron Yates, board member and dean of the College of Communications, said the location will strengthen the relationship between the college and IMC, which he said was a crucial component as a training ground for journalism students.

The print divisions of the company were based at Illini Hall before they moved to a building located at 57 E. Green St. in 1988. The DI, Buzz, Technograph and Illio staff produce their publications at the off-campus location. WPGU-FM moved further from campus in 1995 to 24 E. Green St., approximately six blocks from its former home in the basement of Weston Hall.

Mary Cory, IMC publisher and general manager, said the building’s design will benefit the company.

“It’s a real exciting direction we’re going,” Cory said. “We’re giving the students a multimedia setting.”

The broadcast media will occupy the first floor, which Cory said will create an exciting atmosphere because passersby will be able to see the DJs in action as well as bands playing in house.

“(It is a) building that the public can interact with,” Cory said.

The advertising department will be based on the second floor and the print media units on the third. The fourth floor is reserved for future expansions.

Rob Knilands, DI employee from 1990 to 1992, said the building’s location will be convenient for staff members and others who visit the building.

“This new building is going to bring it back closer to the Quad,” Knilands said. “It will work out better for everybody (because they) only have to walk over a block or two (from the Quad).”

Champaign Mayor Jerry Schweighart attended the groundbreaking and called the project “another step on what we’ve started on the campus.”

“We’re trying to make it more attractive and convenient for the students,” Schweighart said. He said he also hopes the building, as well as another multi-story building that will be built on the other side of the block, will generate more commercial activity.

The projected move-in date for IMC is spring 2006.