The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Structural Damage Forces Urban Planning College To Move

By Stephanie Lulay | February 6, 2015 5:25pm | Updated on February 9, 2015 8:50am
 College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs classes are moving for the rest of the semester after UIC officials say roadwork on the Circle Interchange may have damaged the building.
College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs classes are moving for the rest of the semester after UIC officials say roadwork on the Circle Interchange may have damaged the building.
View Full Caption

WEST LOOP — After structural damage was discovered at a University of Illinois at Chicago building in the West Loop over winter break, officials have now called on an entire college to evacuate the building.

In an e-mail to faculty and students, Dean Michael Pagano said Thursday that the entire College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs — which has 450 students and 200 staff members — will move out of CUPPA Hall and into other UIC campus buildings.

UIC officials believe the damage may have been caused by ongoing roadwork at the Circle Interchange being overseen by the Illinois Department of Transportation, some of which is taking place directly outside the building.

Stephanie Lulay says IDOT isn't commenting:

"After many meetings and consultations with faculty, staff and students, it has been decided that we all will move to another UIC campus building," Pagano said.

UIC spokesman Bill Burton confirmed Friday that the department is moving because of the damage.

The damaged building at 412 S. Peoria St., called CUPPA Hall, houses the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs on six floors; the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts also occupies a floor in the building.

CUPPA Hall is located alongside the Eisenhower Expressway between Peoria Street and Sangamon Street; most other UIC buildings are located south of the Eisenhower and West of the Dan Ryan.

The structural damage at CUPPA Hall was discovered after students and staff returned from winter break Jan. 5.

Upon initial inspection, 54 offices on five floors were affected by the damage, according to the university. About 100 faculty and staff were initially relocated because of the damage.

After engineers investigated the building in January, faculty and staff were allowed to return to CUPPA Hall with limited access Jan. 8, but several offices and conference rooms were still under investigation for damage and were closed off, UIC officials said.

Last spring, the Illinois Department of Transportation began closing lanes on the Eisenhower between Racine and Peoria as part of a multi-year Circle Interchange project. In the summer, the Chicago Transit Authority’s Peoria Street station on the Blue Line was demolished along with the Peoria Street bridge across the expressway which extended from the southeast side of CUPPA Hall, according to the university.

IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell could not be reached Friday.

Under the planned move out of the CUPPA building, the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs will move to three locations on campus: the Survey Research Laboratory will move to the Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St.; the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy will move to an unnamed building on the south campus, 1253 S. Halsted St.; and the college's remaining units will move to the Student Resident Hall, 880 S. Wolcott Ave.

The building will remain closed through July 1, according to Pagano letter.

Students, though, questioned the condition of the building even before the damage.

"Even before the damage, space in CUPPA was tight and of marginal quality," a Jan. 29 letter from the Urban Planning and Policy Student Association said. "Before CUPPA returns, UIC must evaluate the expected cost of replacing the building. ... It does not make sense to keep pouring money into a building that isn't worth saving."

But in the meantime, a student support office will be housed on the second floor of the Art and Exhibition Hall, at 400 S. Peoria St. that neighbors the closed CUPPA Hall. Classrooms in the Art and Exhibition Hall are expected to remain open during construction and renovation, Pagano said.

The Art and Exhibition Hall will also act as homebase for other CUPPA offices, labs and student work spaces.

UIC plans to run a shuttle bus between the CUPPA building and Student Resident Hall — the two buildings are on opposite sides of the interstate and about 1.5 miles apart. A new shuttle schedule has yet to be announced, according to the letter.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: