Northwestern celebrates groundbreaking of new residence hall


Sam Schumacher/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern administrators, trustees and a student dig shovels into soil at the site where the newest residential hall will be built. The University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, 560 Lincoln, on Friday.

Isabella Jiao, Reporter

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday marked the start of the construction of 560 Lincoln, a new residence hall on North Campus.

Projected to finish in 2017, 560 Lincoln is located north of Kemper Hall where former fraternity houses, known as Peanut Row, once stood, but were taken down in 2013. Once completed, the seven- and four-story hybrid building will accommodate 422 students in suite-style housing. The living areas will also feature abundant shared space for studying, meeting and socializing.

Jack Heider, a McCormick junior and the president of the Residence Hall Association, said the lounges of 560 Lincoln will be the biggest highlight among many other new features.

“(The floor lounge) is split between the two floors with a sweeping panoramic view of the lake,” Heider said.

A shared lounge between two stories breaks the boundary among students living on different floors and forms a more cohesive community within the building, Heider added.

560 Lincoln is one of the five new residence hall construction projects under the Housing Master Plan, an initiative by the Division of Student Affairs. Heider said the plan seeks to better students’ on-campus experience by renovating current residential buildings and constructing new projects.

“It’s just the beginning,” Gordon Segal, chair of the Board of Trustees’ educational properties committee, said in his address during the ceremony.

Segal said in his speech the committee aims to make on-campus buildings more open to nature with the help of improved construction technology and better architects.

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, associate vice president for Student Affairs, said the Housing Master Plan will transform the on-campus residential experience.

“This is going to be a top-notch, innovative housing program across the whole nation,” Kirchmeier said.

One highlight of the Housing Master Plan is the student involvement in the designing of the new buildings, Kirchmeier said. She said students were surveyed about preferred room types and what they want to see in the new residence halls during the designing phase of the project.

“We took all that information and it’s reflected in 560 Lincoln,” Kirchmeier said.

And such involvement is not done yet. Throughout the process, students continue to give feedback regarding the latest design progress, even the furniture selection, Kirchmeier said.

Shen Wu Tan, a Medill graduate journalism student who is also a graduate housing assistant, said she is interested in seeing such changes on campus. She said she supports the removal of certain existing residence halls because the systems in those buildings are mostly outdated.

However, the noise caused by renovation and construction can be annoying to some living on campus, said Communication sophomore Meryl Crock.

“But beautifying the campus and making new facilities is objectively a good thing (for student residents),” Crock said.

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