Though Northeastern Illinois University's main, 67-acre campus has been a fixture in Chicago's North Park neighborhood for almost 55 years, it has remained difficult for the school to shed its commuter campus reputation, which is informed largely by the university's complete lack of student housing. This will end on May 14th when the university will be break ground at a 2:30 p.m. ceremony on its new, on-campus, six-story, 440-bed residence hall, scheduled to open by August 2016 for the start of the fall semester.
The groundbreaking comes as mixed news to some community members, who have been critical of the university's 2014 announcement to implement eminent domain to grab nearby properties on the 3400 block of Bryn Mawr Avenue for off-campus student housing. Community members, organized as the NEIU Neighbors Coalition, criticized the motion as a land grab and even protested in front of the home of university president Sharon Hahs to prompt a reversal of the decision. The university heard and responded to neighborhood concerns and readjusted the order of its three-phase student housing plan to begin by first building on its own, sprawling campus. But, as DNAinfo previously reported, eminent domain for the sites on Bryn Mawr is still in effect, and it was partly in the interest of meeting its fall semester 2016 deadline, as well as community feedback, that prompted the university to re-order its approach.
Northeastern created Northeastern Neighbors, where it will post regular updates of its housing projects, as well as progress on the eminent domain process, which, as usual, continues to agitate local business and property owners.
UPDATE: An anonymous tipster has sent over a rendering of the new NEIU residence hall designed by SCB.
·Check Out NEIU's New Colorful Contempo El Centro Building [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous NEIU coverage [Curbed Chicago]