Groundbreaking for new residential commons on June 6

June 4, 2014

By Dianna Douglas

The UChicago community is invited to a Friday, June 6 ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Campus North Residential commons.  

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and neighbors are welcome to join the University’s community partners and the project team at the 5500 block of South University Avenue for a groundbreaking and reception starting at 10:30 a.m. The entrance is on Greenwood Avenue between East 55th and 56th streets, directly across from the Smart Museum of Art.

The design-build team of Studio Gang Architects and Mortenson Construction, including celebrated Chicago architect Jeanne Gang and vice president and general manager Greg Werner, will create the new residential commons. It has been designed around the University’s distinctive College House program for 800 undergraduates, with an emphasis on building communities.

The residential commons will occupy the site of the former Pierce Tower and the North Field, connecting the University to the Hyde Park community to the north and enhancing the pedestrian flow.

“This residential commons is commanding, dynamic and beautiful, but it will also play an essential part in our educational mission,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Our residence halls help us create the very culture of learning and scholarship upon which the university depends, and for which it is justifiably famous.”

The new residential commons will include eight houses of approximately 100 students each, with first- through fourth-year students living together. The building will feature open courtyards, a new dining commons, classrooms and retail.

Each College House will be built around a three-story common area, in which students can socialize, study and relax. The design includes special accommodations for third- and fourth-year students seeking a more independent living experience, including private rooms and kitchen facilities. At the same time, it will allow them to take part in the development of strong communities and friendships with fellow students and resident staff. 

“This new residential commons will bring to life our vision of building community within the College Houses effectively and gracefully,” said Karen Warren Coleman, vice president for Campus Life and Student Services.

The building is scheduled to open in 2016. 

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