Founded in 1867, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) is ranked the most ethnically diverse university in the Midwest. The entirely-new El Centro serves as the first building of NEIU’s new Avondale campus. The 66,000-square-foot, three-story facility includes classrooms equipped with the latest technology, lecture halls, computer rooms, wet & damp laboratories, a resource center/library, student lounge, and administrative spaces. The JGMA-design building features a unique exterior and prominent location adjacent to the Kennedy expressway off Kimball Avenue. Given its location, the building was designed as a billboard for the University, with a ventilated façade system that provides sun shading and gives the building a gold-appearance when viewed from the south and blue from the north. El Centro is the first building in the Chicagoland area to utilize this technology.
Primera provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and telecommunications design for the new environmentally-friendly building. The facility will soon include roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels that were obtained in part from an ICECF grant facilitated by Primera. A long list of sustainable features, including the use of high-efficiency equipment, low flow plumbing fixtures, and creative lighting, have all made the project eligible for LEED Gold certification.