UI plans new residence housing

The interior of a triple room in Bromley Hall in Champaign. Patrick Traylor

The interior of a triple room in Bromley Hall in Champaign. Patrick Traylor

By Andy Seifert

The University is planning to design new resident halls and dining facilities that will be part of a $75 million redevelopment project near the six-pack.

The plan features the new 144,000-square-foot Student Dining and Residential Programs building, to be built at the current Illini Orange Snackbar location, 301 E. Gregory Dr. The new building will replace the dining rooms at the Peabody and Gregory Residence Halls, which will be torn down when the project is completed.

A new 132,000-square foot residence hall is also being designed for the project. The new building, which will be located between Garner Hall and Gregory Drive, will integrate the existing Beckwith Residence Hall, 201 E. John St., a University facility that houses students with physical disabilities.

Peter Maass, University architect and project manager for phase one of the development plan, said stage one of the building will represent only part of the final structure.

“As currently envisioned, the ultimate build out of the residence hall will generate 508 beds,” Maass said. “The first phase will provide up to 152 beds.”

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Maass also said the first phase of the new residence hall includes four floors and a partial basement, and will consist mainly of double occupancy rooms, though single rooms are also being considered.

The Student Dining and Residential Programs building will be two stories with a partial basement, and will include multiple food stations with various cuisines, late night dining and an advanced technology and library commons area. Students will have 24-hour access to the building.

The University also hopes to house various student organizations in the Student Dining and Residential Programs building.

Some students said the idea of the mixing dining and studying was practical and convenient.

“I could see myself spending time there because sometimes the library is just too quiet or just too serious for me,” said Megan Kuske, freshman in Education. “It would be nice to have a study area that I could go grab some food and jump on a computer but just not feel so serious.”

Others, such as Heather Schwall, freshman in Education, said the current convenience of a dining hall within the dorms was of greater importance than variety of foods.

“I know I like the dining halls just for the fact that it’s convenient, being just downstairs,” Schwall said. “But I do occasionally get sick of the dorm food on the two or three week rotation.”

Maass said that the project was only in the design phase, but that both buildings are scheduled to be completed by Fall 2009 semester.

The University recently selected the Chicago-based architecture firm Booth Hansen to design the buildings.

Sandy Stevenson, the managing principal for Booth Hansen, was not available for comment.