|Friday was the first of many moving days at the second tallest new tower slated to open downtown this year: Roosevelt University’s $123M, 32-story Wabash Tower in the South Loop. Administrators are now setting up their offices, followed by faculty in May, and students in August. (That's when the fun really starts.)|
The vertical campus, which has its official ribbon cutting in May, increases RU’s Chicago classroom space by 40% and furthers the revival of the South Loop. Yesterday, we met VP of campus planning and operations Steve Hoselton at the ground-floor bookstore (they still exist), who has monitored the 414k SF, 40-month construction project at 425 S Wabash with his team: VOA Architects, Power Construction, developer John Buck Co, and owner's rep JLL. Completion of the contemporary, glass-clad high-rise brings the amount of university-owned real estate to 1.8M SF. It also brings to the South Loop—struggling to absorb the supply of multifamily apartments and condos—the vibrancy of a fully occupied, new Class-A tower where 633 students will live, play, and study.
The Wabash Tower, and a new $8M field house nearby, introduces new types of facilities to RU. For greater efficiency, the Wabash Building includes tiered- and auditorium- style classrooms that accommodate bigger classes of 60 to 108 students, as well as state-of-the-art biology and chemistry labs (for more intimate science work, like love potions or understanding the circulatory system of a frog). For business students, it features the replica of a trading floor and will have a classroom where students can establish and run their own businesses. For those days and nights of cramming for exams—when every minute counts and dirty laundry has piled up—students can go online to check how many machines are available and then receive a text when their load is done.