Jonasson House Message
Channel 2 in Chicago may be airing a report soon about the Jonasson House, the residence of the UIC chancellor since 2009. The station has been inquiring about the donation and expenses relating to the house's renovation, maintenance and operation. In light of this possible story, and to update UIC News coverage of the donation and renovations in 2008 and 2009, I wanted to share with you some facts about the house and work relating to it, both for your information and in case of questions you may receive regarding any media coverage.
The house, with an appraised value of $1 million, was donated to the university by distinguished alumna, longtime professor of surgery and pioneering woman in medicine Dr. Olga Jonasson, who died in August 2006. Then-President B. Joseph White required that the Chancellor reside in the house and the Board of Trustees decided that the Jonasson House shall be designated as the official residence of the UIC chancellor. University-owned official residences, of course, are commonplace for university presidents and chancellors. In addition to helping to recruit for these critical positions, an essential responsibility for a president or chancellor is to interact with donors and donor prospects, faculty, staff, student leaders, alumni, peers, etc., and many such events are held at the official residences.
The Jonasson House, built in 1882, was vacant for several years before it was conveyed to the University. Extensive infrastructure renovation and redecorating were required to make the house suitable for its intended purposes and to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), given its use as a university-owned facility. Almost 25 percent of the costs for renovating the house were to make it ADA-compliant. No tuition income or state funds were used; rather, institutional funds and gift funds were used.
The University now has a renovated townhouse, donated to us by an illustrious former faculty member, which is located very close to campus on a historic block on Jackson Boulevard, and which is ADA-compliant. The Jonasson House is serving its purpose as a home and secondary office to UIC chancellors and as an official venue for University events. Furnishings for the home were purchased in consultation with a design specialist to be consistent with the look of the historic house and the period in which the house was built. These items were purchased before the Chancellor's arrival and were not purchased with state or tuition funds.
The combined cost to date of renovations, ADA compliance, code compliance, furnishings and repairs, is approximately $724,000. More than 90 percent of these costs came during the initial period of renovation and rehabilitation of the house, which is almost 130 years old. Some of the more recent expenses were necessitated by storm damage. All of these costs will be amortized over the life of the house and its use as official residence, secondary office space and small venue for university entertaining, for the chancellors of UIC.
UIC's and the Chancellor's top priorities are, and always will be, our students, including our ongoing commitment to financial aid, currently more than $30 million a year. Philanthropic support is vital to the work we do on behalf of our students, and Dr. Jonasson's donation of her home is a part of her enduring legacy, for which we are very grateful.
Please let me know if you have questions or need more information.
Associate Chancellor for Public Affairs
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