HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago plans to tear down the original faculty club to expand the campus quad, the school announced Wednesday.
Under the proposal, Ingleside Hall, 956 E. 58th St., would be torn down as part of a plan to extend the quad around the biological sciences building and convert a cul-de-sac into a pedestrian walkway.
The building "has suffered through the years,” said Ellen Sahli, executive vice president for civic engagement for the university.
Ingleside was built in 1896 and was originally on the west side of campus. It suffered several fires in its early years and was moved across campus in the 1920s, losing 12 feet from the middle of the building to squeeze into its current home.
Though it once housed the human resources office, the building is now vacant, except for a first-floor Post Office that is looking for another location on campus.
“We have been unsuccessful to date finding a location they would be happy with,” said Alicia Murasaki, a planner at the university.
Razing the building to expand green space and add a pedestrian walkway is not sitting well with neighborhood preservationists.
“This is a community decision, not just for the university to make unilaterally,” said Jack Spicer, a board member of the Hyde Park Historical Society and a frequent defender of Hyde Park’s architecture. “Did they discuss this with the Hyde Park community, the preservation community, the alumni, the students, the faculty, the Landmarks Commission before they made up their minds?”
Because the building was significantly altered, it is not protected by the city’s mandated delays on demolition of a potentially significant structure.
At the sparsely attended meeting, community members asked about the potential effects on cyclists and the thriving food truck scene on campus.
University representatives said those concerns were being considered as they move forward with the plan.
Limiting the portion of 58th Street east of the emergency room to pedestrians only is expected to eliminate 22 parking spots, which the university is looking to replace elsewhere on campus.