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May 17, 2018

U of I trustees advance capital projects 
$263 million in planned construction will support students, research

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday helped pave the way for nearly a dozen construction projects that will ultimately total more than a quarter of a billion dollars for new or renovated classroom, research and residential facilities.

Trustees advanced 10 projects at the U of I System’s universities in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago that will total more than $263 million when completed and will all be financed without state-appropriated capital funding.

The board has made facilities a priority to ensure that learning, laboratory and living space keeps pace with the quality of academic and research programs, and maintains the three-university system’s place as a go-to destination for top students and faculty.

In January, the board directed President Tim Killeen and his leadership team to develop a long-range plan to build on $1.2 billion in bricks-and-mortar investments across the system over the last five years, which include the projects approved Thursday.

The capital plan will set system-wide priorities, with an accompanying funding model to pay for them, and will focus on construction and upgrades that serve students and research discovery. The plan is expected to be completed later this year.

“We are firmly committed to facilities that match the excellence of our faculty and our academic and research programs,” Killeen said. “This capital program will ensure classrooms and laboratories that are leading edge – supporting students and innovation today and for decades to come.”

Action by trustees Thursday advanced eight building projects at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and two at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Projects in Urbana-Champaign include awarding construction contracts for the $48 million Siebel Center for Design. Ground was broken last month for the student-focused learning and innovation hub, funded through a $25 million lead gift from the Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation. Thomas Siebel, founder and CEO of C3IoT, is an alumnus and founder of Siebel Systems, a global software company that later merged with Oracle Corp.

Other Urbana-Champaign projects include a $10.3 million renovation and addition to expand small animal surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital; a $7.8 million upgrade of engineering research facilities at Talbot Laboratory Building; a $6 million replacement of track and field facilities, funded through a lead gift from the Demirjian family of Decatur; and $55.5 million in renovations to Townsend and Wardall residence halls.

In Chicago, trustees awarded contracts for an $11 million project that will relocate and expand the Graham Clinical Performance Center, which provides simulation training for medical students. The board also increased funding by $1 million to $16.6 million to build new research facilities at the Medical Sciences Building and adjacent College of Medicine West Tower.

No state-appropriated capital funding will be used for any of the projects, which will be financed through sources such as gifts, institutional funds and borrowing.

Interim dean

Trustees approved the appointment of veteran UIC faculty member Walter Benn Michaels as interim dean of the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts at UIC, effective July 1. Michaels will serve during a national search for a permanent dean to succeed Steve Everett, who is leaving to become provost and executive vice president at Adelphi University.

Michaels joined UIC as a professor of English in 2001, and served as head of the department from 2002-07 and from 2013-16. He also has served on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, and Johns Hopkins University.

He earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Student transportation fees

The board set student fees for the 2018-19 academic year that provide access to public transportation at UIC and Urbana-Champaign. The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) does not assess a transportation fee.

In Urbana-Champaign, the fee will remain unchanged next fall and spring, at $62 per semester, and will decrease 2 percent from $31 to $25 for the 2019 summer semester. Rates are based on a new agreement for transit services with the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District.

Transportation fees at UIC will increase for the first time in four years under a new contract with the Chicago Transit Authority.

For general students, fees will increase 16 percent, from $140 to $163 for the fall and spring semesters and from $108 to $125 for the 2019 summer semester. Fees for students in the College of Medicine will decrease 2 percent for fall and spring, from $178 to $175, and will increase 20 percent for the 2019 summer semester, from $108 to $130. Rates for medical students are different because of differing academic calendars.

The board already approved fees in January for costs such as operating campus recreational facilities, student unions, career services, athletics, counseling centers and libraries, and to help with facility maintenance, renovations and utilities.

Continuing budget resolution

The board also approved a resolution to keep the U of I System operating legally after its current fiscal year ends June 30. The annual resolution is required to pay bills and maintain operations until the legislature finalizes a new state budget for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1.

The resolution authorizes expenditures based on fiscal 2018 funding levels until the permanent budget for fiscal year 2019 is approved later in the year once the state’s fiscal 2019 budget is signed into law.

New trustee

Trustees installed U of I alumnus Sanford “Sandy” Perl of Glencoe as a new member of the board, pending confirmation by the state Senate. Perl was appointed to a six-year term this week by Gov. Bruce Rauner and fills the last vacancy created when the terms of three former trustees expired in January 2017.

Perl, 52, is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLC, an international law firm based in Chicago. He graduated from Urbana-Champaign in 1987 with a degree in accountancy before earning his law degree from the University of Michigan.

He joins two other U of I alumni who were appointed by Rauner to replace former trustees Patricia Brown-Holmes, Ricardo Estrada and Karen Hasara. Donald Edwards, a Chicago private equity investor, and Stuart King, a Champaign physician, were appointed to the board last year.

Student trustee

The board also installed Shaina Humphrey as the new student trustee from UIS. She succeeds Edwin Robles, who could not serve during the May meeting because he took leave before the end of the spring semester.

Humphrey is a junior from Waukegan majoring in legal studies and was elected to serve as student trustee during a campus election this spring.

She also will be installed for her full term in July, along with other student trustees. Trayshawn Mitchell has been re-elected as student trustee from Urbana-Champaign. He is a senior from Harvey, studying political science, economics and communication. Darius Newsome was elected to succeed Karina Reyes as student trustee from UIC. A Chicago native, Newsome earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from UIC and is now studying for a master’s in public administration.


The University of Illinois System is a world leader in research and discovery, and the largest educational institution in the state with more than 83,000 students, nearly 25,000 faculty and staff, and universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I System awards more than 22,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.