Red Eye Chicago

New dormitory opens at UIC

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When she championed constructi­on of more dormitorie­s at the University of Illinois at Chicago about eight years ago, Sylvia Manning was “chewed out,” the chancellor recalls, by a now-retired state senator who accused her of betraying the campus’ urban-commuter mission.

She did it anyway. Stukel Towers, the university’s third new dorm in six years, opened last week, welcoming 750 students—and their overflowin­g carloads of clothing, lamps, bulletin boards, posters and pictures. If it weren’t for the Dan Ryan Expressway noise and the Sears Tower views, the scene of awkward introducti­ons among roommates and tearful goodbyes with parents would have fit right in at the university’s bucolic Urbana-Champaign campus.

Intended as an affordable commuter school when the campus moved to its current, crowded location near Greektown in the 1960s—known then as the Circle campus—UIC now is a more frequent choice for students who want the benefits of city living but the independen­ce of a residen- tial college experience.

“This last 750 students may be the tipping point,” Manning said. “The focus has been on creating a better community, a stronger community for students at UIC. Part of that has been the need to get a critical mass of students living on campus or within a mile of campus.”

Students and faculty said they hope the additional housing could lead to more student organizati­ons, activities and school spirit on a campus known to shut down by 4 p.m. as commuters try to beat traffic home. A new fitness and recreation center, commercial space along Halsted and Maxwell Streets, and a planned 3,000seat convocatio­n center also are creating a more residentia­l feel.

 ??  ?? Freshmen Le Nguyen, 18 (left), moves in to James J. Stukel Residentia­l Towers on Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Freshmen Le Nguyen, 18 (left), moves in to James J. Stukel Residentia­l Towers on Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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