Altgeld, Illini Hall Project enters new design phase
December 2, 2019
The University is in the process of creating various designs for the upcoming renovations in Altgeld Hall and a complete reconstruction of Illini Hall.
“We have the two departments in our college, mathematics and statistics, which are two of our most rapidly growing departments in the college,” said Derek Fultz, director of facilities in the College of LAS administration. “They are housed in Illini Hall and Altgeld Hall mostly and teach most of their classes in those two buildings, and those buildings need desperate renovation.”
The new designs would open up larger spaces for collaborative work to occur as opposed to the limited space the departments currently have. Since the buildings are old, there will be various installations to improve the overall structure.
Illini Hall went through much examination to determine if it should be demolished during the initial stages of preparation, as the University had to determine its historical value. Illini Hall was not as impactful as Altgeld Hall, which has significant historical value because of the bell towers as well the overall location of the building.
“It doesn’t lend itself to suiting the needs of the departments without extensive renovation, like tear everything out of it essentially and the foundation has had some issues over the last few years,” Fultz said. “So that would have required a large investment.”
The newly reconstructed Illini Hall building will have a state-of-the-art data science center as part of the Champaign-Urbana hub of the Illinois Innovation Network.
“There’s going to be a floor dedicated to data science, and as part of that, I’m sure you’re sort of thinking of something about the Digital Transformation Institute, which is a sort of the vision is to use data science, positive new transform society and solving people’s impediment,” said Rayadurgam Srikant, professor of Engineering.
The highlight of Illini Hall’s reconstruction will be the data science center because of the future impact it will have, with various projects that may develop as a result of this space being created.
The overall design plans will also include new lecture halls, offices for staff and faculty, classrooms and many collaborative spaces that aren’t readily available with the current area that is provided.
The main complications of the construction will be the traffic and reallocation of resources when these buildings are being redesigned.
“We’re anticipating some issues with just the locations since they’re right across the street from each other in a pretty highly traveled area of campus,” Fultz said. “There’s always the issues of swing spaces and where we put people during the construction.”
Illini Hall’s reconstruction is set to be completed by March 2023, as the construction will be prioritized because of the extensive redesign. Altgeld Hall is projected to be completed by May 2025 after the necessary renovations are complete.