NIU to construct $23 million sustainability center under State of Illinois’ direction

Plans+for+the+sustainability+center+began+in+2018%2C+and+the+center+may+be+up+and+running+by+2026.

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Plans for the sustainability center began in 2018, and the center may be up and running by 2026.

By Abigail Lamoreaux, Managing Editor

DeKALB — The State of Illinois has recently announced that its project to create a sustainability center on NIU’s campus has been given the green light. The seed for the project was planted in October 2018 under the Illinois Innovation Network and is finally going into the design phase.

“The Illinois Innovation Network exists to ensure the needs and ideas of every community are represented in the economy of the future, and I’m proud to dedicate $15 million in state funding to bring this hub for groundbreaking research to DeKalb,” Gov. JB Pritzker said in an NIU Newsroom article. “The establishment of NIU’s Center for Community Sustainability represents a climate advancement for our whole state.”

The sustainability center will be a roughly 30,000-square-foot plot in the western region of campus, northwest of the Convocation Center. The NIU Newsroom article reads that concept designs of the space boast classrooms, offices, an auditorium, atrium, collaborative and conference spaces and more.

The three objectives NICCS (Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability) hopes to address are improving water resources, predicting and managing environmental change and creating food system innovation.

“NICCS will be a world-class research facility… while also promoting science-based policies and practices for communities,” wrote Tom Parisi, editorial associate at NIU’s Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, in an email to the Northern Star.

NIU President Lisa Freeman also commented on the project’s greenlighting in the NIU Newsroom article. She expressed that NIU is a “perfect fit” for this type of research facility, as well as her appreciation of Pritzker’s and the state’s efforts to support this project.

“We have the opportunity to grow our economy in ways that promote equity, protect the environment and meet the needs of the present and future,” Freeman said.

Construction of NICCS could begin as early as 2023. It may be fully operational by 2026.