URBANA – Governor Pat Quinn today joined University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan to break ground on the school’s new Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building. The $95 million facility will enhance educational opportunities, support research breakthroughs in computing, communications, nanotechnology and biotechnology, and set a new standard for energy-efficient buildings. The Illinois Jobs Now! project will create approximately 620 construction jobs, building what is projected to be the most energy-efficient engineering structure in the nation.
“The University of Illinois is home to some of the best and brightest minds in our state and we want to make sure they have the most cutting-edge technology available to them,” Governor Quinn said. “Updated and energy-efficient higher education resources are vital to the success of our state’s innovation and economic development.”
The 232,000-square-foot building will include state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and equipment. The facility will consolidate programs now spread across the campus, creating an environment for cross-disciplinary innovation and expanding the University’s potential for breakthrough discoveries. The advanced energy features are projected to make the facility the most energy-efficient engineering building in the nation. The combined structure is projected to reach zero net energy consumption on an annual basis, and would become the largest such structure in the United States.
“Great minds working together can plant seeds of innovation that may never take root when those same people work alone,” President Hogan said. “The ECE department has a rich legacy of achievement – from transistors and medical imaging to LED lighting, communications and computing – and this new facility is an investment that will pave the way for new generations of breakthrough technology.”
Design work on the facility is complete, and bids will be opened October 12. Construction is expected to start in November, with completion expected by August 2014. The ECE Building will be built to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation for a structure’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. In addition, a solar energy component is planned from separate funds.
The ECE Building construction will be overseen by the Illinois Capital Development Board, which administers all non-road, state-funded construction projects. The $95 million facility will be built with $47.5 million in state capital funds and $47.5 million in private funds from university donors.
Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! program includes $1.5 billion for higher education, including $788 million for public universities and $400 million for community colleges. The $31 billion program is expected to create more than 400,000 jobs over six years.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun