Offices relocate to on-campus buildings

By Heather Scroering

During a March 15 meeting with the occupants of the 218 S. Wabash Ave. and 1112 S. Wabash Ave. buildings, Alicia Berg, vice president of Campus Environment, announced that the college has broken its lease on the two buildings five years early, and offices will move back to Columbia’s campus

this summer.

The move is a “cost saving solution,” saving the college approximately $900,000 per year, Berg told attendees of the meeting, held in the Hokin Hall of the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave. The cost to break the leases is almost $2.1 million, said Patty Heath, interim chief financial officer and vice president of Business Affairs.

“There were certain requirements to pay back expenditures that the landlord made, so even with terms of the lease, the savings to the college is about $2.4 million,” Berg said.

According to Heath, Columbia has occupied space in the two buildings since 2006, leasing three floors at 218 S. Wabash Ave. and one at 1112 S. Wabash Ave. She added the lease originally was set to end in 2017.

Offices will be scattered throughout several buildings on campus. Berg said the move will be temporary, and some offices may move again within the next few years when the library moves to the Johnson Publishing Building, 820 S. Michigan Ave.

Offices planned to move to the Alexandroff Campus Center, 600 S. Michigan Ave., are Admission Services; National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; Information Technology; Client Services; Research, Evaluation and Planning; and Part Time Faculty.

Offices relocating to the South Campus Building, 624 S. Michigan Ave., are the Dean of Library; Human Resources; Controller’s Office; Accounts Payable; Payroll Office; Budget and Reporting; Chicago Jazz Ensemble; Upward Bound; and Center for Community Arts Partnerships.

Those going to the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building are Creative Services and Campus Environment. The Columbia College Chicago Press will move to the 619 S. Wabash Ave. Building.

The Institute for the Study of Women and Gender will move to the 618 S. Wabash Ave. Building, and the Community Media Workshop will be relocated to the 33 E. Congress Parkway Building.

In the past six months, Berg said she has been working with Melissa DaRocha, operations manager of Facilities and Operations, to plan the move. They have also been working with architects to draft space-efficient floor plans.

Heath said they will be working with Building Services to move the offices, but a moving company will be hired to handle fragile items and sensitive files. She added that the cost of hiring a company will be less than $100,000.

According to Berg, all furniture in occupied cubicles will move with the offices, and remaining furniture will stay in the buildings.

Though the prioritization process has recommended some programs, such as the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Women and Gender Institute, be phased out or restructured, Berg said space is being made for all programs currently in existence.

The move is expected to be complete by late August. Heath said they are trying their best to plan around business times so the relocation is not very disruptive.

She said she believes the move will be more convenient for the campus.

“To have everyone more centralized will provide better service for faculty, staff, students, everybody,” Heath said. “It just works out better this way.”