Groundbreaking tomorrow: UIC kicks off construction for new computer science center
The University of Illinois Chicago will celebrate the start of construction on a 135,000-square-foot, multi-use computer science and engineering building with a groundbreaking ceremony on July 15.
The Computer Design Research and Learning Center will be located at 900 W. Taylor St., adjacent to UIC’s Memorial Grove.
It will provide needed space to accommodate UIC’s rapidly increasing undergraduate enrollment in computer science with collaborative teaching and learning spaces in addition to 16,000 square feet of classroom space.
It will also provide space for UIC faculty research in computer science and engineering fields through 35 labs, including a 1,200-square-foot robotics lab.
11:00 a.m., remarks begin at 11:15 a.m.
University of Illinois Chicago
900 W. Taylor St.
UIC leadership will host elected officials and partners. Remarks are anticipated by:
- University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen
- UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis
- UIC College of Engineering Dean Peter Nelson
- UIC computer science student Zara Farin
- Elected officials
The Computer Design Research and Learning Center, or CDRLC, is part of the university’s campus master plan and supported by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan. The new building will consolidate the currently fragmented computer science department at the College of Engineering in a new home and co-locate it with a large cluster of university classrooms.
The college serves more than 5,300 students each year. Over the last 15 years, the UIC computer science department has grown from 187 undergraduate students to more than 1,550 students, and the department has hired 20 new faculty members in the last two years. The department has approximately $50 million in active research grants and is ranked nationally in the CSRankings among the best in the country in several areas including: web and information retrieval (8), economics and computation (14), artificial intelligence (18), logic and verification (18), natural language processing (20), and machine learning and data mining (25).
The building will be delivered on an accelerated schedule to meet the demands of the department, doubling its capacity.
In addition to 15 classrooms, 35 labs, and collaborative teaching and learning spaces, the CDRLC will include an undergraduate learning and community center, auditorium, flexible events room, student affairs office spaces, and a five-floor day-lit atrium. It also will be the new home for UIC’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory, an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research lab.
The total square footage of the project is 135,000 gross square feet, including 125,000 gross square feet of new construction space and 10,000 gross square feet of renovation on existing space.
The construction project will also include a new geothermal farm beneath Memorial Grove that will assist with sustainable heating and cooling of the building, which has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The Computer Design Research and Learning Center is the third academic building to be built in recent years on the East side of UIC’s campus, which was originally designed by Walter Netsch in 1965. It follows the Engineering Innovation Building, which is home to the Chicago area’s only high-bay structural research laboratory, and the Academic and Residential Complex; both opened in July 2019.
Completion of the CDRLC is expected in Summer 2023. The budget for the project is $117.8 million.
What officials have said about the CDRLC:
UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis
“This project is a top priority to meet the needs of students in our growing computer science program and helps to strengthen the high-tech boom in Chicago. We are grateful to Governor Pritzker for his support,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said.
“UIC’s students, staff and faculty are among Chicago’s most driven and innovative leaders and they need and deserve world-class facilities,” Amiridis said. “These new buildings are an investment in our and Chicago’s future. They will enhance significantly our teaching, research and clinical operations and will allow UIC to advance, grow and flourish.”
College of Engineering Dean Peter Nelson
“The new CDRLC represents the future of higher education at UIC and is intended to be a welcoming space to promote innovation, collaboration, and discovery. We placed an intentional emphasis on the public spaces, research labs, and collaborative areas to enhance the experience that each student will have, and it has been a pleasure collaborating with LMN Architects and Booth Hansen,” UIC College of Engineering Dean Peter Nelson said. “Students at UIC will have a new building on campus where they can unleash their curiosity and enjoy a space that is focused on learning, research, and teamwork.”
“This new building represents the extraordinary momentum of the UIC College of Engineering, which has grown to serve more than 5,300 students each year,” Nelson said. “The building will also serve as an important space for our computer science department, which has seen skyrocketing enrollments, has six specialties ranked in the top 25 nationally and is leading the nation in recruiting world-class faculty members.”