Roosevelt breaks ground, record

By Stephanie Saviola

The second largest university skyscraper in the United States will soon stand in what used to be The Herman Crown Center, which housed an old fitness facility used by Columbia and Roosevelt University students.

On April 17, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., held a groundbreaking ceremony to jumpstart its plans to open a 32-story skyscraper. Mayor Richard M. Daley, along with several community leaders, attended the ceremony, which also marked the 65th anniversary of the university’s opening.

“We have been planning this for years,” said Tom Karow, assistant vice president of public relations at Roosevelt. “It is going to be the most significant building in the history of Roosevelt since we acquired the auditorium building

in 1946.”

The new building located at 425 S. Wabash Ave., will house classrooms, laboratories and the business college. According to Karow, student activity services, financial aid and the admissions office will also relocate to the new building.

“It will be very convenient for prospective students and the top of the building will house 600 resident students,” Karow said.

The building is also expected to be LEED silver certified. It will be built with recycled and sustainable materials and will have a green rooftop. In addition to being the second tallest university center in the country, Karow said it is going to be the sixth largest in the world. The tallest in the country and second tallest in the world is The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

“LEED is a point-base system that rates buildings in five different areas of

environmental performance,” said Ashley Katz, manager of communications at United States Green Building Council. “There are four different levels of certification: certified followed by silver, gold and platinum. The difference between a silver building and a gold building really comes down to the number of points the project earns and the number of strategies the project has employed in order to receive LEED certification.”

Katz said an increasing number of educational institutions are some of the largest markets going through LEED certification.

Roosevelt stated they are building the skyscraper because of the expected 50 percent increase of full-time students at the college over the next 10 years.

John Kavouris, associate vice president of facilities and construction at Columbia, said Roosevelt’s new building is not expected to have an impact  on Columbia.

The project is expected to be completed January 2012.