Construction Update: NU opens a new visitor center, renovates dorms and plans a new residence hall
    Northwestern University buildings undergo rennovations and construction. 
    Mia Zanzucchi / North by Northwestern

    Across campus, Northwestern seems to be constantly renovating. Over the summer, construction took hold of the Evanston campus, resulting in a state-of-the art structure, the closing of two residence halls and the planning of a brand new North Campus project.

    Lincoln Hall

    A new residence hall, located at 560 Lincoln Street, will grace the presence of future students of Northwestern. As the newest housing addition since 2002, the hall will make a big impact on North Campus, and students will receive the benefits of walking a shorter distance to a newly renovated SPAC.

    In a press release, Northwestern announced that William Rawn Associates, a firm that has designed everything from music centers to libraries, will design the building. According to their website, they have received 10 National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects for their projects across the country, including one at Northeastern University in Boston.

    "The new residence hall will increase the housing options for our students and create a greater sense of community on the Northwestern campus," said President Morton Schapiro in the press release. Currently, there are more undergraduate housing options on South Campus than on North Campus.

    Visitor Center

    After a year and a half of construction, the six-story Visitor Center is complete – sitting on the edge of Lake Michigan with its glass walls. Working closely with the Admissions Office, this new building will pose as the beginning of many prospective student tours.

    The center is eco-friendly, meeting the minimum goal of a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design rating through the U.S. Green Building Council, according to Northwestern’s facilities management website. There have been some concerns about the necessity and excessiveness of the structure itself, given that Northwestern has the Office of Undergraduate Admissions receive prospective students.

    "It is more attractive and has functional offices and departments on the first floor to take advantage of the beautiful view – a much better area for prospective students,” said Sue Budinsky, project manager.

    Attached at the southern end of the structure is a brand new parking garage.

    SMQ and NMQ

    Residential services confirmed renovations to the dorms of South Mid-Quads and North Mid-Quads on South Campus.

    According to Paul Reil, executive director of Residential Services, there was no mold or other infestations in SMQ and NMQ. "There wasn’t even air conditioning,” Reil said.

    During the process of renovations, Reil mentioned how “no staff were lost.” Instead, all were reassigned to other residence halls to provide “a higher level of service.”

    The initial reason for relocating students out of the dorms was to accelerate renovations under the Housing Master Plan. The plan denotes Northwestern’s agenda for all new facilities being built and all other renovations that will be completed in a span of a few years, according to Riel.

    Riel is making “no promises” of this project being completed soon. The exact renovations have yet to be programmed. From cosmetic to complete, the rennovations could include a demolition of the interior and further prolong the construction process.


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