Arthington Mall Plaza earns SITES certification

Arthington Mall Plaza has been certified by the Sustainable SITES Initiative. This is the first SITES certification for UIC and the University of Illinois System, and only the 10th SITES recognition in higher education nationwide.

The Sustainable SITES Initiative offers a comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes, measure their performance and elevate their value. It is used in private and public sectors all around the world. Just as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Rating has transformed the built environment, SITES transforms land development and use and believes these types of certifications are critical to ensure projects meet the highest standards.

Arthington Mall Plaza is a central crossroads on the UIC campus and is located directly outside of Student Center West in the Illinois Medical District. The plaza was renovated in 2020 from a stark paved courtyard in need of repair into a vibrant and welcoming outdoor space that encourages gathering, mitigates stormwater runoff, and provides critical urban habitat for pollinators and other species.

“Obtaining SITES certification is one of many third-party collaborations, highlighting the importance of sustainability here at UIC,” said Carly Provost-Rizor, director of grounds services.

The renovation was a joint effort between UIC, the National Fish Wildlife Foundation and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. NFWF and MWRD generously provided $442,000 in funding for the project. The renovation included an intensive landscaping process guided by the UIC Climate Commitments, the Urban Transformation 2.0: Green Stormwater Infrastructure Implementation Plan and the UIC Master Plan.

“UIC’s Climate Action Implementation Plan is an invaluable tool. This resource guides our sustainability and SITES certification goals, both of which are key components of every major landscape project,” Provost-Rizor said.

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