Construction begins at historic halls on UIUC campus


Altgeld Hall is one of the most recognizable buildings on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus. The exterior of Altgeld Hall will receive extensive repairs. (Photo courtesy of UIUC)

Construction is beginning on the $100 million investment for the Illini Hall Replacement and Altgeld Hall Renovation Project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus.

The funding is made possible by the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital program, in conjunction with $40 million from University of Illinois System’s Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) and $52 million in institutional contributions.

“Our historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital plan leaves no aspect of infrastructure untouched—roads, bridges, transit systems, and educational facilities included,”said Gov. J.B. Pritzker. “I couldn’t be happier to announce a joint investment from the state and our institutional partners to completely restore Altgeld Hall and construct a new facility to replace Illini Hall at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. From a state-of-the-art data science center to new lecture halls and classrooms, this project will provide UIUC students with the first-rate facilities they deserve as they embark on their educational journeys.”

The project includes a complete restoration of Altgeld Hall, the demolition of Illini Hall, and the construction of a new 140,000 square foot facility to replace Illini Hall. Additionally, the scope of work includes providing a new data science center as part of the Champaign-Urbana hub of the U of I System-led Illinois Innovation Network.

New classrooms, lecture spaces, and collaboration areas will be added to both buildings.

The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) will oversee the project in accordance with the protocol for state-appropriated construction projects.

A conceptual rendering of the exterior of the new Illini Hall, which will include a data science center, will be part of the Urbana-Champaign hub of the University of Illinois System’s Illinois Innovation Network. (Image by CannonDesign.)

CDB has prepped the construction site for the demolition of Illini Hall, occurring at the end of January, with asbestos abatement already underway. A new 4,614 square-foot auditorium will be constructed for Illini Hall, along with almost a dozen new classrooms. A portion of the new building will host the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

The new Illini Hall will be designed and constructed to meet LEED Platinum Certification; the highest level of certification possible from the U.S. Green Building Council. The demolition of Illini Hall marks the first phase of the multi-phase project slated to conclude in 2026.

The exterior of Altgeld Hall will receive extensive repairs to the stone veneer and bell tower, which will continue to serve as a historical campus landmark, prior to beginning the interior renovations. Altgeld Hall will receive new accessibility features and a complete restoration of the building’s original murals. A new research space for the Illinois Geometry Lab and the Illinois Risk Lab will be added to the building, as well as new tutoring rooms and classrooms.

“This project is a credit to partnerships that prioritize financial commitments that make modern facilities and infrastructure a reality,” University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen said. “When completed this project will attract talented people and drive economic development.”

Urbana Chancellor Robert J. Jones added, “These new, innovative, tech-enabled spaces will rejuvenate the core of campus and become home to current and future generations of students and faculty pursuing excellence in data sciences and advanced analytics. These bold investments in our people and our programs will provide unparalleled educational experiences and deliver innovative research that improves lives and changes the world for the better.”