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University of Chicago Construction Kicks Into Gear as Weather Breaks

By Sam Cholke | April 3, 2014 8:00am
 Major construction projects on the University of Chicago campus are ramping back up now that the weather has warmed.
University of Chicago Resumes Construction
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HYDE PARK — Construction season kicks off on the University of Chicago campus this week with the sounds of buildings going up and street closures to accommodate crews.

A section of 57th Street from Cottage Grove to Maryland avenues will be closed from Monday through April 22.

The street will be closed while the university builds a new 1,800-space parking garage for patients, visitors and staff at the Center for Care and Discovery.

The construction will limit access to the year-old hospital building from the west. Drivers will still be able to get to the hospital via 58th Street and Maryland Avenue.

A few blocks north, the university is warning that there may be periods of construction noise as crews build a new facility for its fleet of service vehicles.

The university’s facilities services department warned that trucks will be delivering rebar and concrete to the site over the coming month as crews start putting up the walls to finish the building by next winter.

Work is expected to begin this month on the conversion of the former Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave., into the Neubauer Family Collegium for Culture and Society.

Winter did not stop crews from starting work on a new arts wing on the Laboratory School. Work on the foundation is expected to wrap up this month on the new studio and classroom space funded by a $25 million gift from film director George Lucas and his wife, financial executive Mellody Hobson. The new wing will open in September 2015.

Demolition of the former Pierce Hall dormitory finished in December, and architects are finishing designs for a new dorm designed by architect Jeanne Gang. Construction on the new dorm is expected to begin in June and will include the permanent closure of the 5500 block of South Greenwood Avenue.

To make way for the new dorm, the university has already started moving North Field to the south campus from next to the Henry Crown Field House. The last of the construction fences went up Wednesday as crews begin sodding a new field at 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue.

The five-year long process of converting the former Chicago Theological Seminary at 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. enters its final phase this spring, on pace to be completed by January. Crews are racing to complete the renovations of the historic main building by June, when the 1100 block of East 58th Street will be converted to green space linking the campus and business school.

June will also see the Eckhardt Research Center approaching completion at 5630 S. Ellis Ave. Work on laboratories inside the building will begin later this year in preparation for physics faculty to take up residence in the winter of 2015.