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A green grand opening

Open house showcases latest project

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Students relax in the newly renovated Lincoln Hall
Students relax in Lincoln Hall. The renovated building was designed with input from students, from brighter colors to more coat hooks.

Photo: Wendy Wagoner

What’s red, white and green all over?

Lincoln Hall, UIC’s newly renovated classroom building on the east side of campus.

Like its neighbor, Grant Hall, the building is heated and cooled by a geothermal system that cuts energy consumption and costs.

Newly remodeled from the inside out, the building has updated classrooms and colorful, comfortable lounging space for students.

The campus community is invited to see the results of the $13.7 million renovation at an open house Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

The open house will include demonstrations of the building’s new multimedia technology, as well as information on its energy-saving features.

The renovation, completed for fall semester classes, includes a remodeled exterior, updated paint, tile, electrical wiring and plumbing, and new furniture and multimedia capabilities in all classrooms.

Student oases — informal learning spaces — were created in the first-floor lobby, as well as the hallways on each floor, to give students a comfortable place to relax, study or collaborate, said David Taeyaerts, director of the Office of Campus Learning Environments.

“If you have a conversation before class, or one during class that you want to continue afterward, you can find a place to go right outside of the classroom,” he said.

“The idea is to preserve that moment.”

The building’s color palette was brightened based on feedback from student surveys and research, said Wendy Wagoner, assistant director of the Office of Campus Learning Environments.

Reds are meant to inspire, while blues are calming, Wagoner said.

Students also said they wanted more natural light in campus buildings, Wagoner said. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows replaced the building’s concrete window paneling.

“Being able to see what goes on inside makes the building so vibrant and so much more alive,” Taeyaerts said.

Wooden panels were installed to improve acoustics in classrooms, and clocks and coat hooks were added based on student requests.

Each room is furnished with new, ergonomic chairs and movable tables that can be pushed together to form rectangles, pulled apart to become rows, or shaped into a “U” for class discussions.

“One person can move the tables with a single hand — even just a single finger — it’s that easy,” Wagoner said.

All classrooms have integrated audio/visual podiums with computers for instructors.

New multimedia technologies are also available for students. Two workstations each in the second- and third-floor hallways and another in a seminar room on the second floor have TeamSpot software installed. The software — which will be demonstrated Thursday — lets students wirelessly collaborate on a single document or project while they each use their own computers.

“It’s a true sense of collaboration,” Wagoner said.

The renovation improved campus accessibility; hallways in Lincoln Hall were expanded to connect with the second and third floors of Douglas Hall. Second- and third-floor corridors in Douglas Hall connect to Grant Hall, which has an elevator.

The Lincoln Hall renovation, funded largely through student fee revenue, is the first UIC construction project designed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Last year, 50 geothermal wells were dug into the ground nearby. This geothermal system serves as a heat pump, using relatively stable ground temperatures to cool or warm the water flowing through the well system.

Because the only power supply needed is electricity to run pumps, the system helps environmental efforts on campus, said Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability.

A similar geothermal well system has supplied energy to Grant Hall for two years, reducing its energy costs and consumption. Electrical costs at Lincoln Hall are expected to decrease after solar panels are installed on the roof.

UIC is applying to the U.S. Green Building Council for the Lincoln Hall to receive “silver” status as a registered LEED building.


Below: Students work together at one of the building’s oasis areas, left. Right: floor-to-ceiling glass replaced the building’s concrete window design. In surveys by the Office of Campus Learning Environments, students said they wanted more natural light in campus buildings.

Photos: Wendy Wagoner

Students work together at one of the building’s oasis areas

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