Saturday morning, after the speeches by just about every politician you can imagine--Adlerman Bob Fioretti, Congressmen Bobby Rush and Mike Quigley and County Board Chairman Toni Preckwinkle, for starters--who all congratulated the Roosevelt University administrators and board and faculty for building The Wabash Building, I spent hours wandering through. Everyone adored the latest paean to progress in the Loop, while Orange Lines and Pink Lines and Green Lines went past in the background and through the windows of what will be the brand spanking new cafeteria.
I started on the top floor--31--a dorm room floor, and made my way via the stairs all the way down to the first. On the second floor--the same level as the cafeteria--I wandered into the back and through a doorway and ended up, surprisingly, on the second floor of what everyone will forevermore call the "old" Roosevelt building, built by Adler and Sullivan as a hotel and office structure to accompany their Auditorium Theater
, which was completed in 1889. It was quite a shock to go from the age of The Jetsons
on one side of the wall to the Gilded Age
on the other.
The inside of the new campus building--half the floors are dorm rooms, and the other half things such as business school classrooms, science labs and student/faculty amenities--benefits greatly from the huge windows; on many floors they are tilted. The furnishings are bright but spare--lots of orange and deep purple--but interesting and comfortable nonetheless. Everything seems durable and very green--recycled, healthy and renewable.
Some dorm rooms are private--with spectacular views of Buckingham Fountain. And others are suites with single and double bedrooms. There are functional apartments for RAs. Donors can have dorm rooms named after them. Each student gets a bed with a pillow top mattress, a desk and a wardrobe/armoir. And a beautiful view. No maid service provided. "The students are expected to keep their rooms and bathrooms clean," said one of the volunteers at the open house. There are nice laundry facilities, too--a big laundromat is on the 15th floor. Each suite has one shower only. And at least two sinks and a toilet. Lots of hooks for towels and lots of hooks for coats are standard.
Study rooms, classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, laboratories, student life offices, lecture halls, a fitness center with green roofs astride it (there are five green roofs on the building altogether) all benefit from the magnificent views. One can't help but think of how everything is piled on top of other things. From the provost with the big corner office to the student with financial aid a few floors above, to the lecture hall with the big audio-visuals, everyone can peer out of the huge windows onto everything interesting and beautiful and magnificent--from the "L" tracks, to the rear of the Fine Arts Building, to Soldier Field and the Museum Campus to the Harold Washington Library.
The big draw? Students will be able to eat and sleep and study and workout and go to class in the same building on any given day. Which prompted one dignitary to wonder during his speech what sort of getups the students will be wearing to class when all they have to do is roll out of bed and board an elevator to get there.
On the lowest floors, one can stand behind the landmark facade of Andrew Rebori's Fine Arts Annex
that was saved and incorporated into the building, thereby appeasing the preservationists.
cost $118 million to build and furnish. It will punctuate the downtown skyline forever.
We are no longer accepting new comments on ChicagoJournal.com