Urbana, Ill. —The University of Illinois Foundation gathered staff, colleagues, and friends on May 9, 2022 to break ground for a new building that will create an innovative and collaborative new space for philanthropy in support of the University of Illinois System and its three universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. This ceremonial groundbreaking was held on the building site near the corner of St. Mary’s Road and Fourth Street in Champaign, Ill., just east of the I Hotel and Conference Center.
The construction of the new building marks the beginning of a new era for the U of I Foundation as the project will bring staff together in a single location in Champaign-Urbana. Currently UIF staff work in two locations: leased office space at 507 East Green Street (Champaign) and historic Harker Hall on the UIUC Quad (Urbana).
The U of I Foundation has a particularly deep appreciation for Harker Hall and was responsible for spearheading its loving restoration by a group of donors in the early 1990s. Since that renovation, the Foundation has leased Harker Hall from UIUC. That lease is set to expire in 2025, and UIUC is interested in reclaiming the campus icon for its original intended use—to serve the campus and its students.
“Harker Hall—and those who contributed to renovating it so beautifully in the 1990s—will always hold a special place in our hearts,” said U of I Foundation President/CEO James H. Moore, Jr. “We will miss the place we have called home for the past three decades, but, because of its prime location on the Quad, we understand the significance of Harker Hall to UIUC. We know we will be leaving it in good hands, and Harker Hall will forever be an important piece of our history.”
The Foundation’s new 60,000 square-foot building will feature a forward-thinking, flexible design that represents a modern work environment. In addition to employee workspaces, the building will include space for hosting alumni and friends including a beautiful and welcoming atrium and a third-floor indoor/outdoor space with a terrace featuring an excellent view of campus. The building will also serve as a learning hub for the entire University of Illinois advancement community with space for peer-to-peer collaboration, training, and professional development.
“We are excited to be developing a space that is specifically designed to celebrate the University of Illinois’ rich history of philanthropy and to support and encourage pioneering philanthropic work,” said Moore. “It will help us create an even brighter and even more altogether extraordinary future for the University of Illinois System.”
The University of Illinois Foundation is funding the project through a combination of UIF reserves, fundraising, and borrowing. No state funding will be used for this project. The Foundation has developed a fundraising campaign specifically for this building which includes naming opportunities to provide donors with a special way to leave a lasting mark at the University of Illinois.
After a competitive procurement process, the Foundation selected Perkins Eastman and Berglund Construction as their design/build partners. Project Management Advisors (PMA) has also been retained by the Foundation to provide consulting services. The design/build team is seeking LEED certification with a gold rating. The team is also pursuing WELL certification, which includes strategies to enhance health and well-being through design interventions, operational protocols, policies, and commitment to fostering a culture of health and well-being.
“We are proud to be the architect for the new University of Illinois Foundation building, a vital component in establishing the campus architecture for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Research Park extension. The new building unites all elements of the Foundation under one roof, providing visual connections to nature, ample daylight, and a variety of workspaces that support UIF’s diverse, inclusive, and hybrid work environment. Congratulations on breaking ground, we look forward to our continued collaboration!” said Jerry Walleck, managing principal, Perkins Eastman’s Chicago studio.