Schapiro looks to move in to president’s house in June

Jillian Sandler

Construction is still under way at the Wieboldt House, where University President Morton Schapiro will reside beginning in June.

With the exception of some landscaping, the work is scheduled to be completed in June as planned, said Ron Nayler, associate vice president for facilities management at NU.

The renovations, which have been in progress since last summer, include replacing the heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and upgrading the electrical system to meet today’s housing code, Nayler said. He said additional repairs include updating the kitchen and dining room and changing the layout of the first floor to accommodate large dinners for students, faculty and staff.

“The first floor became a better space to use for entertainment than what the original layout was,” Nayler said.

In an email, Schapiro said other renovations to the house would include making it more handicap-accessible and adding green elements. While construction is underway, Schapiro has lived at the former residence of the University provost. He said he is pleased with the progress of the construction thus far.

“I was there once, and the place is looking great!” he said.

The house is between 9,000 and 10,000 square feet with five bedrooms and three floors. Additional rooms have the potential to be turned into bedrooms as well.

Nayler declined to comment on the cost of the project. He said the decision to renovate the house, which is located at 639 Central St., was made after former University President Henry Bienen moved out. Nayler said no renovations were carried out during Bienen’s tenure.

“A lot of systems were deteriorating – just a large number of problems we had in a big old home that really needed to be addressed,” Nayler said. “We said that as long as President Schapiro would be in temporary quarters, it’d be useful to do a renovation in the house and bring it up to today’s standards.”

Since assuming his presidency at NU, Schapiro and his family have been residing at the University provost’s old residence. Schapiro said he has held large dinners there for NU students, faculty and staff but has found it difficult.

“We continue to do lots of entertaining at our current house, but it is not set up for it,” he said. “This past week, for example, it was fine for an economic history dinner on Tuesday, but it was much more difficult for the 50-person student dinner on Wednesday. Once I get back to town (tomorrow) we will stuff the place for three very large dinners over a seven-day period.”

Though the arrangement is only temporary, students who have been to the residence to dine with Schapiro said it was very homey.

“His home creates such a warm and welcoming atmosphere for students – everything in the home’s decor has an interesting story behind it,” said Weinberg senior Brendan Lovasik, vice president of the Northwestern Class Alliance, of Schapiro’s temporary residence.

Schapiro said he is excited about the prospect of living in the newly renovated house.

“I can’t wait to move,” he said.

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