Renovations for the 21st Century

The loyalty and generosity of Al and Jane Wohlers symbolize the remarkable progress made through Campaign Illinois.

 

 

FOR COMMERCE, THE FLAGSHIP GIFT OF THE YEAR WAS MADE BY THE WOHLERS, whose long and rewarding relationship with the college is detailed in the Fall 1998 issue of Commerce InSight. Their gift, in the amount of $6 million, will be used to fund the renovation of Commerce West. To begin in May 1999, the project is expected to take around a year, with perhaps the most dramatic outcome to be the handsome new west central entrance hall. The hall, which opens onto Sixth Street, will be redone inside and out, with a domed ceiling, information board, and donor recognition area providing a focal entry point to the building. Jane and Albert Wohlers visited campus in October to hear about the renovations to Com West made possible by their gift.

Certainly among the most welcome new features within will be fifteen additional offices and a conference room — an expansion which will take place on the third floor, through a massive redo of the building's cooling system, which will free up almost 3,800 square feet of space. The plan also calls for a first-floor student lounge, enhanced classrooms, upgrading of the faculty lounge, and enlargement of the conference room in the dean's office. Hallways and stairwells will be refurbished, and the building will be rewired to meet updated code requirements. Improvement of restroom facilities will include installation of a fourth-floor women's lavatory — an oversight which dates to the days (now, happily, over) of a nearly all-male faculty, concentrated in offices on the top floor.

Architectural details of new space on the third floor of Commerce West. Handsome new offices and a conference room have been designed to incorporate aesthetically pleasing details and make access to the latest technology readily available.

Because of the age of the building, asbestos abatement will be a necessary, if less than glamorous, part of the process. This will be undertaken floor-by-floor, between semesters and during spring break, when occupancy is low, for procedures require that areas undergoing abatement be vacated. Some faculty members will be required to give up their offices during various phases of construction. Even the dean's offices will be vacated for a time. Outfitted with office furniture, room dividers, and extra phone lines, the third-floor Faculty Lounge will serve as the default location for most of the displaced profs, administrators, and staff, with temporary occupancies ranging from a month to the duration of the project. And when it is finally over — an updated Com West, renamed Wohlers Hall, will help carry the college into a new millenium.

The view of the new interior domed plaza in Wohlers Hall, which will serve as a focal entry point for the college.

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