FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 23, 2001
Contact: Cheryl D. Peck
Governor Ryan endorses new $30 million building for UIS
SPRINGFIELD - The construction of a $30 million classroom and office building at the University of Illinois at Springfield would give the campus' educational environment a significant boost and alleviate space needs that have been plaguing UIS for several years, UIS officials said today, following the release of Gov. George Ryan's FY2002 Budget.
UIS Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn expressed her joy and gratitude following the announcement Wednesday that the governor's budget included the new building. "We greatly appreciate Gov. Ryan's leadership in helping us secure this much-needed building. As with the Capital Scholars Program, this new building represents a crucial addition to the evolution of our campus." Lynn noted that the governor had also been instrumental in obtaining approval of Capital Scholars, UIS' first four-year baccalaureate program, which will admit its first class of freshmen this fall.
If approved by the Legislature, the 116,130 square-foot classroom and office building will contain 17 classrooms, many of which will be technology-enhanced, nine seminar rooms, a lecture hall, computer laboratories, and office space for academic programs now located in Brookens Library and in prefabricated metal buildings, and key student services operations.
"It will enhance the overall educational experience of students by allowing consolidation of all academic programs and key student services into permanent buildings in the center of
campus," said Lynn. "Many academic programs are now dispersed in the oldest and least
functional structures on campus." She was referring to metal buildings located on the east side of campus that have been considered temporary since their construction in the early 1970s. Among colleges and universities in Illinois, UIS currently must hold the highest percentage of classes in those outmoded and deteriorating buildings.
Construction of the new building, just south of the Public Affairs Center, would bring to four the number of permanent buildings at UIS and would contribute further to formation of a campus quadrangle. The buildings now located on the quadrangle are Brookens Library, the Public Affairs Center, and the Health & Sciences Building. In addition, the campus' master plan calls for the development of more green space in the quadrangle area in order to create a collegial environment and social atmosphere.
According to Lynn, space needs at UIS have been inadequate for several years. "We are denied potential enrollment credit when prospective students must be turned away every semester because our available classrooms are booked solid in the evenings," she said. "UIS has also begun to attract an increasing number of fulltime students, who tend to be younger and residential. They expect to attend classes offered in buildings more comparable to those on other college and university campuses. We cannot compete for them as effectively without a more permanent infrastructure."
The new building would also permit Brookens Library to reclaim space now occupied by academic programs for crucial expansion of its collections and technology-related services. In addition, it would allow the addition of new technology-enhanced and smart classrooms, essential for providing quality education to prepare UIS graduates to better meet the economic needs of their employers.
University of Illinois President James J. Stukel called the governor's endorsement of the classroom building "another important step in the development of that campus."