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NEIU Celebrates Grand Opening of New Urban Campus with State-of-the-Art El Centro Facility
NEIU Celebrates Grand Opening of New Urban Campus with State-of-the-Art El Centro Facility

Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) celebrated the grand opening of their new El Centro building, the first of its new Avondale campus, yesterday with a ribbon cutting event that included speeches from prominent politicians and University officials. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, NEIU-alum U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel all spoke highly of the state-of-the-art building and its impact on the local community. University speakers all proudly stated that not only do their students deserve a state-of-the-art education, they deserve this facility.

The new 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 has garnered significant attention in the past few months due to its 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.

“This was a great project for us, and an even better project for the University and local community,” said Lindsay Bose-Zanders, Primera Project Manager for the El Centro project who was on hand for the celebration. Primera has a history of completing successful projects with both Northeastern Illinois University and JGMA Architects, and this was no exception.

Northeastern Illinois University is a fully accredited public university serving 10,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students in the Chicago metropolitan area. Their main campus sits a few miles north at 5500 N. St. Louis Ave. The University offers more than 80 academic programs in the arts, sciences, education and business. The University is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the most diverse universities in the United States and is federally designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

NEIU Celebrates Grand Opening of New Urban Campus with State-of-the-Art El Centro Facility

Confetti falls in front of the striking façade of the new building (left). Mayor Emanuel boasts about the impact El Centro will have on the surrounding neighborhood (above).