UIC breaks ground on new Computer Design Research and Learning Center
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“Where computer science is concerned, the U of I System as a whole, including UIC, has a particularly important role, a wealth of economic and technological potential for Chicago, Illinois, and the region,” Killeen said. “The computer science department here at UIC is a major driver of success. As you’ve heard, a massive enrollment increase, many underrepresented minorities will find the spark that fires their careers forward, and that’s the key reason for the construction of this fabulous new center, promising a bright future for UIC computer science and building on its rich past and present.”
The Computer Design Research and Learning Center at UIC will consolidate the currently fragmented computer science department at the College of Engineering in a new home and co-locate it with a large cluster of university classrooms.
The college serves more than 5,300 students each year. Over the last 15 years, the UIC computer science department has grown from 187 undergraduate students to more than 1,550 students, and the department has hired 20 new faculty members in the last two years. The department has approximately $50 million in active research grants and is ranked nationally in the CSRankings, among the best in the country in several areas, including web and information retrieval (8), economics and computation (14), artificial intelligence (18), logic and verification (18), natural language processing (20), and machine learning and data mining (25).
“The university, the College of Engineering, and our computer science department is in the business of changing lives, and this is why our faculty, staff, and donors have been so passionate in doing everything we can to continue growing our engineering and computer science programs and maximizing the number of students that have the opportunity to pursue computer science and engineering careers,” Nelson said. “We are all very excited and thankful to be able to push forward and expand our programs.”
Reflecting on her first days as a UIC student, Farin recalled how important it was to connect with other students and faculty, and have space for collaboration.
“This part of my journey was crucial to who I became and the collaborative environment would definitely help others who are in the same situation as I was, which is why I eagerly look forward to the completion of the Computer Design Research and Learning Center, because innovation and advancement is manifested when we come together and collaborate,” Farin said. “Thank you for giving us countless opportunities to succeed, making us love the field of computer science and helping us every step of the way.”
The building will be delivered on an accelerated schedule to meet the demands of the department, doubling its capacity. In addition to 15 classrooms, 35 labs, and collaborative teaching and learning spaces, the CDRLC will include an undergraduate learning and community center, auditorium, flexible events room, student affairs office spaces, and a five-floor day-lit atrium. It also will be the new home for UIC’s Electronic Visualization Laboratory, an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research lab. The construction project will also include a new geothermal farm beneath Memorial Grove that will assist with sustainable heating and cooling of the building, which has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The Computer Design Research and Learning Center is the third academic building to be built in recent years on the east side of UIC’s campus, which was originally designed by Walter Netsch in 1965. It follows the Engineering Innovation Building, which is home to the Chicago area’s only high-bay structural research laboratory, and the Academic and Residential Complex; both opened in July 2019.
Completion of the CDRLC is expected in summer 2023.
This story first appeared in UIC Today.