The University of Illinois Springfield is opening its first student union.
The university has scheduled a ribbon cutting over the weekend at the $21.75 million building.
The student union has been designed to serve as a social hub for student life and foster a greater sense of community on the growing campus.
The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union anchors the campus’s south quad. It provides campus dining services, a coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that houses student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.
The design of the student incorporates environmentally friendly features—the building has a green roof that will provide insulation, help to lower air temperatures, and last much longer than other roofs—50 to 60 years compared with the 20 to 30 years most roofs last. To reduce storm runoff and eliminate water irrigation, the structure will have a rainwater reclamation system that takes advantage of the roof’s slope.
The university hopes to achieve LEED gold certification for the building design.
Officials say the new facility will fill a void that officials say has grown since the campus became part of the University of Illinois system in 1995. The school was originally founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University and because it catered to upperclassmen and graduate-level students, it did not have a student union. The university has evolved to become a traditional four-year school.