With Kresge renovation set to begin, some professors concerned about move


Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

The renovation of Kresge Hall is scheduled to begin in 2014. Classes will be moved to several other Northwestern buildings to accommodate the construction, which will run through at least 2017.

Rebecca Savransky, Assistant Campus Editor

After years of planning, the renovation of Kresge Hall is scheduled to begin later this year, spurring some faculty concern over the relocation of classes and departments.

Paul Weller, director of facilities planning, said more than 20 departments and programs and 19 registrar classrooms will be moved to temporary “swing” rooms, the locations of which are currently being finalized to accommodate both students and faculty. Weller said Kresge’s size and multitude of rooms are posing significant problems in preparing for the renovation.

“The issue that we have is that there are what we refer to as ‘departmentally-defined seminar rooms, conference rooms, classrooms,'” Weller said. “Those are spaces that we’re replacing in part, as of now, but we’re not going to be able to replace all of them.”

He said the building is scheduled to close completely by August so renovations can begin by the start of the upcoming school year. The undertaking has a projected completion date of winter 2017.

The renovation will include updates similar to those done in Harris Hall, Weller said. The interior walls will be completely removed, central heating and ventilation will be added, and restrooms will be updated.

Weller said the second floor, where the building’s main entrance is located, will likely be occupied by registrar classrooms. Crowe Cafe will be moved up to the new lobby space. The building will be reorganized to keep different components of each department together, creating additional spaces for students and faculty to use as flexible rooms for their own purposes. Department faculty will most likely be located on the upper floors as opposed to being scattered throughout the building, Weller said.

“Currently, there are situations where faculty offices are on one floor and the department office is maybe two floors away in a different part of the building,” Weller said. “That’s something we’re correcting.”

Over the summer, all departments and programs located in Kresge will be relocated to different locations throughout campus and in Evanston including University buildings at 1800 Sherman Ave., 555 Clark St., 1819 Hinman Ave., and the old Roycemore School, located just south of Long Field, Weller said.

Certain parts of the Technological Institute, previously left unfinished, are being outfitted to make room for more classroom space to accommodate classes that would normally occupy Kresge, Weller said.

Josh Ippel, coordinator of arts labs for the art theory and practice department, said he has been communicating with facilities management to ensure his department’s temporary new space will adequately support its needs.

“We have resources like the woodshop and our photography lab,” Ippel said. “So we have a bunch of physical pains that will go along with (the move).”

Ippel said the renovation will be worth the cost of moving because it will provide new technology and equipment including CMC routers, some of which have 3-D cutting capabilities.

The $58 million project budget does not include the costs of moving, relocating and renovating buildings to prepare for the move, Weller said, but additional costs will be incurred from redoing carpeting, installing furniture and finishing certain areas of Tech.

Weller said despite the inconvenience for faculty, the planning has been running smoothly and the staff has been flexible with the moves.

However, Asian languages and cultures Prof. Noriko Yasohama, the director of language programs, said her department’s temporary relocation to 1800 Sherman Ave. will cause a great deal of hassle due to the new location’s distance from campus and the amount of classes each member of her department teaches on a daily basis.

“We know where we are moving, but what we don’t know is if the University has enough classrooms for next period to accommodate all of our course offerings with the reasonable scheduling,” she said.

Several other faculty in departments located in Kresge declined to comment on the relocation.

Yasohama also said members of the department will have to walk back and forth between classrooms and the department location several times a day, wasting time and productivity.

Although the relocation will cause problems for her department, Yasohama said after working in Kresge for about 20 years, it is obvious the building needs to be renovated.

“Kresge building is very old and some of our faculty office had heating pipe problems,” Yasohama said. “This building is sort of falling apart slowly so I think renovation is necessary, but I don’t know if this year is the right time considering the serious shortage of the classroom that this campus is facing.”

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Twitter: @beccasavransky