Altgeld Hall to receive first major renovation in over 60 years


The Daily Illini File Photo

Altgeld Hall, 1409 W. Green St., on Feb. 8, 2018.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

Proposed renovations of Altgeld Hall are underway after a campus committee conditionally approved $27 million in student funding to modernize the 121-year-old building.

This would be the first significant renovation to the building since 1956. The renovation could be part of a larger project for the building and Illini Hall, which would cost up to $100 million.

Current renovation plans include restoring the mosaics, murals and woodwork in the library, while adding contemporary learning spaces throughout the building and replacing the heating and air conditioning in the hall.

The Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment Oversight Committee approved the funds for 2020 and 2021 and rely on securing the remainder of the funds from the University, the state, donor gifts and other sources.

Students currently pay $334 each semester into the fund, and student representatives in the committee will voice how to spend deferred maintenance funds. The Academic Facilities Maintenance Fund Assessment is the primary source of funding for the deferred maintenance program.

Altgeld Hall is currently home to the Department of Mathematics, which moved in after the School of Law moved out in 1956.

Jeremy Tyson, professor and interim chair of the Department of Mathematics, said in an email that the department is grateful for the commitment to Altgeld Hall’s renovations.

“These renovations will have an extraordinary impact, creating dynamic, contemporary instructional spaces for the tens of thousands of students who take courses in this iconic building every year,” Tyson said.

He noted that the hall’s historic character will remain intact.

Accessibility will also be featured in the building after an addition of a second elevator, along with energy efficiency as heating and air conditioning will be replaced throughout Altgeld Hall.

The renovations will encourage environmental sustainability, as the project is targeting the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification.

Glass floor panels in the stacks will be replaced, and the east colonnade’s open appearance will be restored. If funding permits, a back-lit ornamental glass dome will be installed to illuminate the atrium after the original glass dome was removed in 1942.

Repairs to Altgeld Hall’s chimes are still underway, and work on the tower’s bells, clappers, pulleys, cables and supporting frame are expected to be completed this upcoming spring semester, said Steve Breitweiser, manager of communications and external relations for Illinois Facilities and Services.

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