On Monday, July 22 The University of Illinois at Chicago held a Ribbon Cutting for the Grand Opening of their new Engineering Innovation Building located at the corner of Morgan and Taylor Street. In attendance were Mayor; Lori Lightfoot, University of Illinois President; Timothy Killeen, UIC Chancellor; Michael Amiridis, Illinois State Senator; Patricia Van Pelt, Illinois State Senator; Pat McGuire, State Representative (36th District); Kelly M. Burke, and State Representative (24th District); Elizabeth Hernandez.
Enrollment at UIC has more than doubled over the last decade, and to accommodate this growth along with the university's expanding engineering footprint, the new 57,5000 sqft Engineering Innovation Building was designed to house three departments: Chemical Engineering, Civil and Materials Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. This new building highlights UIC's investment in its rapidly growing engineering programs which have increased to more than 5,000 students.
The new structure includes space for research labs, classrooms, and offices for faculty. This building also brings the Chemical Engineering Department, which has been located off-campus for more than 20 years into the center of UIC's east campus.
The new Engineering Innovation Building is also home to the Chicago metropolitan area's only high-bay structural research laboratory. In this unique facility, researchers and government agencies will be able to develop and test large-scale structural components and determine how they behave under various loads and conditions. The bay rests on a 6 ft thick reinforced concrete mat slab designed to support massive pieces of infrastructure and features a 30 ft high L-shaped reactive wall.
The mat slab is made up of 1,512 cubic yards of concrete and over 160,000 lbs (80 tons) of reinforced steel. The construction of the mat slab required 168 concrete trucks, two concrete pumper trucks, and over twenty-five craftsmen. The first concrete truck mobilized to the project site at 11:35 pm and the last concrete truck left the project at 3 pm the next day. This was a 15-hour continuous concrete pour.
The chemical engineers in the new building will also continue leading research work on projects that include developing artificial leaves that take carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere to make synthetic gas, microbial fuel cells, and cancer detection technology that uses microfluidics devices.
Berglund Construction was the Construction Manager for the 18-month project. The new Engineering Innovation Building is also expected to receive its LEED Gold Certification later this year.