LITTLE ITALY — The University of Illinois at Chicago — which is seeing record enrollment — is planning to build a 10-story, $100 million tower on campus that would serve as a "living-learning community," officials announced.
The proposal to build a residence hall with 550 beds with a two-story academic wing was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education this week. The building will be at the northeast corner of Harrison and Morgan streets, the site of a surface parking lot right now. The location is steps from the Halsted Blue Line station and visible from the Eisenhower Expy.
The building will have "a mix of traditional residence hall style units" with a communal bathroom, as well as "semi-suite style units" with private bathrooms. There will be study lounges, social lounges, offices, a fitness center and laundry facilities.
The academic wing will have lecture halls, classrooms, group study rooms and a tutoring center. There is also room for a small amount of retail, which the school said would likely be a cafe.
"This new facility will meet the needs of [the] entire student as the mixed-use building will provide modern living amenities along with the integrated 51,000-square-foot academic component of the building," the proposal to the higher ed board said.
The building comes as the campus, long a commuter school, has seen higher demand for its on-campus housing and as enrollment passes 30,000, for the first time. Enrollment includes nearly 20,000 undergraduates, including more than 4,000 freshmen.
“We are delighted that students are choosing — in record numbers — to pursue their educational aspirations at UIC. We are investing in building the infrastructure and human capital to meet the needs of our student population and we will continue to grow in the foreseeable future,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said in a statement.
The proposal must be approved by the Illinois Finance Authority and the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
Construction of the new building is scheduled to begin by the end of the year and be done by July 2019.
The building is a public-private partnership, and the school has brought in an outside company to secure financing. The debt service will largely be paid for by "users fees collected through housing rental agreements," the proposal said.
The school did not say how much students would pay to live in the building.
The university will give up to $6 million toward the academic portion of the tower.