Groundbreaking ceremony starts production of new residence hall

Project leaders for NIU’s new residence hall break ground on site Monday afternoon, located north of Lincoln Hall. The hall is expected to be completed for the Fall 2012 semester.

By Danny Ciamprone

DeKALB | NIU President John Peters led the groundbreaking ceremony Monday for what he called the “most important project” in the school’s history.

Production has now started on the 1,000-bed residential facility for first-year students located north of Lincoln Hall. The new complex will have two residential buildings and a community center, which is expected to be completed by fall 2012.

“This new facility will be cutting edge in nature,” Peters said. “We are confident it will make NIU a major competitor against other institutions.”

Peters said this new construction is a part of the New Northern LifeStyle initiative, which has a goal of making NIU the best learning and living environment possible.

He also thanked Marc Strauss, chair of the Board of Trustees, for all his help.

“It seems like just yesterday I was asked to take a tour of the facilities,” Strauss said. “It was clear we needed to do something different.”

Eddie Williams, executive vice president of finance and facilities and chief of operations, said the facility will be essential when it comes to competing with other institutions. Williams also talked about financing the new residence facility.

“ACC (American Campus Communities) stepped in,” Williams said. “They are experts and their whole mission is providing housing for university campuses. With their help, we were able to put together a program to support this housing.”

The buildings will have cluster-style living arrangements with privacy, semi-private bathrooms, a living area and kitchenette. The community center will also contain a food court-style dining area, a recreation facility, multipurpose rooms and a wireless lounge/gaming area.

Peters said it is a difficult time right now for higher education in the country and for Illinois’s economy. By working together with several outstanding leaders and partners, this new facility was able to be successfully started, he said.