September 20, 2021

Governor Announces U of Illinois Capital Investment Plan to Include Altgeld and Illini Hall Projects 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently announced that the Altgeld Hall renovation and Illini Hall replacement projects will be part of his Rebuild Illinois capital investment plan.

CannonDesign, in partnership with Bailey Edward, will lead the complete restoration of Altgeld Hall and the construction of a new building that will replace the current Illini Hall on the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign campus.  The project will be completed in four phases.  

 “The State of Illinois Capital Development Board and the University of Illinois are CannonDesign legacy partners,” said Charles Smith, co-director of CannonDesign’s education practice and project principal. “ Together, we are designing, renovating and executing one of the most impactful projects on the U of I campus and in the state. Elevating the fields of statistics and mathematics and creating a new front door to data science are in concert with the national leadership of this great university.”

CannonDesign’s project designer, Thomas Hanley, echoed Charles’ sentiments and added that the design of Illini Hall will create a dialogue with the renovated Altgeld Hall across Wright Street to form a new gateway onto campus. “While meeting the programmatic needs, Illini Hall will also include a 170-person auditorium at the ground floor, a double-height math and statistics commons at the fifth floor that overlooks Altgeld Hall, and a six-story atrium that will allow natural light from above to descend throughout the building. A sculptural staircase will soar through the atrium space and allow faculty, students and guests healthy and convenient access,” he said.

Altgeld Hall and the new Illini Hall will act in unison as a dynamic environment for the school’s Mathematics and Statistics departments. Built in 1897, historic Altgeld Hall — the second-oldest building on campus — will be renovated to increase teaching capacity and accessibility for students. As restoring the original beauty of the building is imperative, the renovation will carefully preserve historic elements such as its mosaic, murals, atrium and sandstone exterior.

“We’re excited to collaborate with the University and CannonDesign in the illumination of Altgeld Hall’s past and future,” said Robin Whitehurst, Bailey Edward’s lead preservation architect on the project.  “By reintroducing light and color through the restoration of original architectural details hidden by time, we are reclaiming the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s historic heritage. The future of Altgeld Hall will be one that is even more accessible, sustainable, and inspirational, opening new doors for generations of Illini students.”

The redevelopment of the academic buildings will be key in further developing the university as a hub for data sciences and advanced analytics. The Altgeld renovation will increase classroom capacity and elevate comfort and safety throughout the building by installing new MEP systems, sprinkler and life-safety systems, AV/telecommunications systems, restrooms and elevators. The new Illini Hall will feature a state-of-the-art auditorium and collaborative workspaces with ergonomic furniture. Across the entire project, 220,000 square feet of functional space will provide students and faculty a vibrant academic environment that supports rigorous study and research.  

The Governor’s massive investment plan will direct more than $685M toward the University of Illinois System over the next few years, including a $140M investment from the state and $52M committed by the campus and donors to complete large-scale renovations and new construction at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC). Read more about Governor Pritzker’s announcement here.