Learning center

UIC inaugurates new computer design research and learning center


Inauguration of the Center for Research and Learning in Computer Design on Thursday, July 15, 2021. From left to right: Ald. Patrick Thompson, UIC College of Engineering Dean Peter Nelson, UIC Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services John Coronado, University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen, UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Gov. JB Pritzker, State Sen. Celina Villanueva, University of Illinois Trustee Kareem Dale, State Representative Lakesia Collins and Capital Development Board Chair Eileen Rhodes. (Photo: Joshua Clark / UIC)

“Our commitment, as we stand ready to innovate today in the first of four major projects that have been appropriated by the State of Illinois for UIC, is that we will continue to grow stronger, we will continue to fight record and attract attention and continue to provide the best prepared and most diverse human infrastructure that Chicago and Illinois can imagine, ”said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis at an inauguration ceremony on the University of Illinois Chicago campus on July 15.

The event celebrated the start of construction on the new $ 117.8 million, 135,000 square foot computer design research and learning center at UIC, which will be located at 900 W. Taylor St. , next to UIC’s Memorial Grove.

The building, which is part of the university’s campus master plan and supported by the Rebuild Illinois investment plan, will provide the space needed to accommodate UIC’s rapidly growing undergraduate computer science enrollment with collaborative teaching and learning spaces and 16,000 square feet of classroom space. It will also provide space for UIC faculty research in the fields of computer science and engineering with 35 labs, including a 1,200 square foot robotics lab.

Amiridis highlighted the expected number of 1,700 undergraduate computer science students in the fall and the hurdle of aging infrastructure on campus.

“We got to a point where we started putting restrictions on the growth of the IT department… just because we had nowhere to put students or faculty,” he said.

Speaking to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, who attended the event, Amiridis said the university was thrilled with what the governor had done for higher education over the past two years. “It’s a time of renaissance for higher education in Illinois right now,” he said.

Outdoor courtyard CDRLC sm
Render of the UIC Computer Design Research and Learning Center, which will be located at 900 W. Taylor St.

Pritzker spoke at the event.

“As Chicago’s only public research university – and one of the most diverse universities in the country – we are investing to strengthen UIC’s place as a national leader, propelling it into the future,” said Pritzker. “Rebuild Illinois recognizes the importance of UIC as a foundation for innovation, and that same innovation is critical to our success as a state. And best of all, what’s happening with our investments at UIC is just a microcosm of what we’re doing in every corner of Illinois. We’re solving decades-old problems, creating and supporting good jobs, invigorating the next generation, investing in our long-term economic success – and doing it together.

Also attending the event were Timothy Killeen, president of the University of Illinois system; Senator Celina Villanueva, Illinois 11th District; Ald. Patrick Thompson, Chicago’s 50th Borough; Eileen Rhodes, chair of the Illinois Capital Development Board; Peter Nelson, Dean of UIC College of Engineering; Representative Lakesia Collins, Illinois 9th District; and Zara Farin, computer science student at UIC, among others.

“When it comes to computing, 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,” said Killeen. “UIC’s IT department is a major driver of success. As you have heard, a massive increase in enrollments, many under-represented minorities will find the spark that will advance their careers, and this is the main reason for building this fabulous new center, promising a bright future for IT at UIC and drawing on its rich past and present.

UIC’s Computer Design Research and Learning Center will consolidate the currently fragmented computer science department of the College of Engineering into a new house and co-locate it with a large cluster of university classrooms.

The college welcomes more than 5,300 students each year. Over the past 15 years, UIC’s computer science department has grown from 187 undergraduates to over 1,550 students, and the department has hired 20 new faculty members in the past 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 the web and information retrieval (8), l economics and computation (14), artificial intelligence (18), logic and verification (18), natural language processing (20) and machine learning and data mining (25).

“The University, College of Engineering and our Computer Science Department are on a mission to change lives, and that is why our faculty, staff and donors have been so passionate in doing everything possible to continue to develop. our engineering and our computer science. programs and maximize the number of students who have the opportunity to pursue careers in computer science and engineering, ”said Nelson. “We are all very excited and grateful to be able to move forward and expand our programs. “

“Thank you for giving us countless opportunities to be successful, for making us love the IT field and for helping us every step of the way,” UIC IT student Zara Farin said during of the inauguration of the Center for Research and Learning in Computer Design on Thursday, July 15, 2021 (Photo: Joshua Clark / UIC)

Reflecting on her early days as a student at UIC, Farin recalled how important it was to connect with other students and faculty and to have a space for collaboration.

“This part of my journey has been crucial for who I have become and the collaborative environment would definitely help others who are in the same situation as me, which is why I am looking forward to the completion of Computer Design Research and Learning. Center because innovation and advancement happens when we come together and collaborate, “said Farin.” Thank you for giving us countless opportunities to be successful, for making us love the IT world and for us. help every step of the way. ”

The building will be delivered on an accelerated schedule to meet the demands of the department, thus doubling its capacity. In addition to 15 classrooms, 35 laboratories, and collaborative teaching and learning spaces, CDRLC will include an undergraduate learning and community center, auditorium, flexible event hall, offices for students. student affairs and a five-story daylit atrium. It will also be the new headquarters of the UIC Electronic Visualization Laboratory, an internationally renowned interdisciplinary research laboratory. The construction project will also include a new geothermal farm under Memorial Grove that will contribute to the sustainable heating and cooling of the building, which was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.

The Computer Design Research and Learning Center is the third university building to be constructed in recent years on the east side of the UIC campus, which was originally designed by Walter Netsch in 1965. It follows on from the Engineering Innovation Building , home to the Chicago area’s only high-rise structural research lab and university and residential complex; both opened in July 2019.

The completion of the CDRLC is scheduled for summer 2023.

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