Sept. 23, 1999
Vol. 19 No. 1

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    Building boom marks University’s move into 21st century

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    As the academic year begins, the University is launching a series of campus improvements for the 21st century.

    Facilities such as the future Interdivisional Research Building will provide state-of-the-art laboratories for joint research projects crossing the boundary between the physical and biological sciences. The $39 million Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, the University’s first new athletics facility built in 67 years, will include modern gyms and an Olympic-regulation pool.

    Over the next four years, the campus community will see the creation of a number of new facilities, including the University Press Building, for which there will be a groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. today on the Midway Plaisance near 60th Street and Dorchester Avenue; the Graduate School of Business facility; a 900-space parking structure; residence halls; a permanent skating rink and warming house; an arts center; and new, formal entrances to the main campus.

    These changes are part of the Campus Master Plan, the fourth such plan in the University’s history. “Just as our academic work evolves, so too does the physical campus evolve,” said University Provost Geoffrey Stone. “Changes taking place on campus right now are designed to meet both immediate and long-term facilities needs.”

    Stone said the current plan lays the groundwork for future mini-master plans, focusing, for example, on the development of the south campus and the reallocation and reuse of buildings vacated during the course of this master plan.

    To meet the needs of a world-class university, two internationally acclaimed architects are currently in the design phase for three separate projects––the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, a parking structure and the University’s new residence halls.

    Architect Cesar Pelli, best known for designing the tallest building in the world, the Petronas Towers, is currently designing the Ratner Athletics Center and the parking structure. Groundbreaking for the parking structure is scheduled for this winter and for the Ratner Athletics Center next fall.

    Internationally acclaimed architect Ricardo Legorreta, whose most recognized works include the San Antonio Public Library and the Pershing Square city park in Los Angeles, will complete his plans for the residence halls by the end of the quarter. Groundbreaking for the residence halls is scheduled for this spring.

    An architectural firm also has been selected for the new Interdivisional Research Building, which will be located on 57th Street west of Ellis Avenue. Ellenzweig Associates Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., is an award-winning firm with extensive experience in the design of laboratory buildings, including Harvard University’s Naito Chemistry Building and Life Sciences Building. Construction on the Interdivisional Research Building is scheduled to begin next summer, and the facility is scheduled for occupancy in 2003.

    In addition to these projects, the Graduate School of Business currently is evaluating the work of six distinguished architectural firms, which are competing to design its new facility. For information on the Campus Master Plan, visit the Web site at http://www.uchicago.edu/masterplan.