Contact: Cheryl D. Peck

Legislature approves funding for classroom/office building at UIS

SPRINGFIELD - University of Illinois at Springfield Chancellor
Richard D. Ringeisen expressed joy and gratitude Friday that the
Legislature included funding for a classroom/office building for UIS in
the FY2002 state budget. Half of the $30 million necessary to construct
the 116,130 square-foot building is included in the budget, with the
second half to follow in the FY2003 budget.
"We are very grateful that we can begin construction of this
building, which will alleviate critical space needs and enhance the
overall educational experience of our students," said Ringeisen. "I
would like to thank all of our friends, in particular our legislative
delegation from the area, the U of I administration, and the governor's
office for their ongoing support and interest in the evolution of this

Ringeisen said construction of the building, just south of the
Public Affairs Center, will begin as soon as planning is completed, and
then is expected to take about two years. The current year's budget
includes planning funds of about $1.3 million to design the building.
The building will house technology-enhanced and smart classrooms,
seminar rooms, a lecture hall, computer laboratories, and office space
for academic programs now located in Brookens Library and in
prefabricated metal buildings located on the east side of campus.
"This campus has suffered from a problem of overcrowding for
several years, particularly in the evenings when 65% of our students
attend classes. And many of our students must attend classes in
deteriorating, outmoded metal buildings that have been considered
temporary since their construction in the early 1970s." Ringeisen said.
He noted that UIS' College of Business and Management is completely
housed in one of those buildings.

The new building will allow consolidation of all academic
programs and key student services into permanent buildings in the center
of campus, contributing further to the formation of a campus quadrangle.
The buildings now located on the quadrangle are Brookens Library, the
Public Affairs Center, and the Health & Sciences Building. 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

According to Ringeisen, there has been a severe need for space
at UIS for several years. "We have been unable to serve the needs of
many prospective students when they are turned away every semester
because our available classrooms are booked solid in the evenings," he
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 will also permit Brookens Library to reclaim
space now occupied by academic programs for crucial expansion of its
collections and technology-related services. Also, it will allow the
addition of new technology-enhanced and smart classrooms that will raise
UIS to a more advanced level of technological sophistication in
delivering high quality education to its students.