Lincoln Hall lacks state funding

By Kathleen Foody

Lincoln and Gregory halls are two Quad buildings frequently used for large and small classes, faculty offices and student activities. The problem is that it shows – peeling paint, cracked ceilings and chipped tile are prevalent in both buildings.

However, renovations on either building cannot begin until funds have been secured. Lincoln Hall is waiting for the state to release funds, based on the recommendations of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Gregory Hall’s renovations will be funded by a received donation and University funds.

Cliff Carey, campus architect and director of planning, said his department began evaluating Lincoln Hall about four years ago and saw obvious need for renovations.

“We have been working with an architect to determine the maximum yield we can gain from the building’s space,” he said. “But it’s difficult to say exactly what can be done and when, without having the money guaranteed.”

The plans for Lincoln Hall include constructing entirely new classrooms on the first floor, restoring the theater’s historic entryway, creating new faculty, staff and administrative offices and fixing common complaints like cracked tile, Carey said.

Matthew Derosa, student member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, said the project is at number six on the board’s priority list, which is a very good sign.

“We recommended $53 million for the Lincoln Hall project this year,” Derosa, junior in LAS, said. “Its high position on that list should be seen as great news.”

Gregory Hall, which houses the College of Communications along with other offices, is being prepared for a project to serve the increasing number of students in the college.

Ronald Yates, dean of the college, said the college plans to construct a student services center in the building’s basement.

“As the college gets bigger with the addition of sophomores, we believe that a place for career advising, placement help and a collaborative work environment is essential to our students’ success,” he said.

The basement of Gregory will be converted into offices for placement advisors, interview rooms for job recruitment and a large space for student collaboration, Yates said.

Both buildings, particularly Lincoln Hall, have been the frequent targets of criticism.

Bradley Bond, president of the Speech Communications Graduate Student Association, said he receives constant complaints about the Lincoln Hall basement offices.

Graduate students work with crumbling ceilings, excessive heat and poor lighting, he said.

University undergraduates have also dealt with frustrating conditions in the building.

“I’ve seen a lot of people trip on the third floor because tiles are missing everywhere,” said Arielle Hertzberg, a junior in LAS. “The classrooms get really drafty during the winter, and some of the chalkboards are covered in marker and hard to see.”

Besides aesthetic flaws, safety has become a recent concern for some who work in Lincoln Hall.

Josh Barbour, a graduate student, said he and his coworkers have had a few scares.

“Ceiling tiles actually fell on top of someone once,” he said. “We found out later that there was mildew growing on them.”

Chris Kantas, an Illinois student senator and a candidate for student trustee, has been working on a resolution to convince the governor’s office to provide more funding for the Lincoln Hall project, among others.

“The Illinois Student Senate is really trying to get the word out that the University is lacking funding,” Kantas, junior in LAS, said. “Lincoln Hall is just one example of this, so we’re trying to put some pressure on the governor’s office through this resolution.”

Kantas believes all University students should be aware of the need for renovations.

“There is a solution, and that’s convincing the governor and the state to increase our funding,” he said.