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Lewis University’s new aviation-inspired student center is ready for take-off

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The building’s glassy atrium will feature decorative airplanes as a nod to the school’s aviation program

Wight & Co.

When it came time for Lewis University to envision a new student center for its Romeoville campus, the college looked to the sky for inspiration. Home to a private airport and a nationally recognized colligate aviation program, the Chicago-area school will cleverly incorporate aeronautical themes into the upcoming student facility.

For example, the building’s metal roof features an exposed grid evocative of an aircraft’s internal structure. This roof element is then supported by tapering exterior columns reminiscent of wing struts. Meanwhile, a glassy, two-and-a-half story central atrium will suspend entire vintage airplanes from its soaring ceiling.

Lewis University

Dubbed Brother James Gaffney, FSC Student Center in honor of the school’s president emeritus, the 26,000-square-foot structure will include meeting rooms for student organizations, a 24-hour convenience store and cafe, multiple outdoor terraces, and a game room. The design also features a communal dining hall as well as private dining spaces available for undergraduate clubs to reserve.

The new student center was designed by Wight and Company. The Chicago-based firm is also overseeing engineering and consturction on the $12 million project. After breaking ceremonial ground last month, Lewis’ newest building is on track to open in the fall of 2018.