CCSPD Town Hall: East Campus Quad Renovations
On this page you will find all the materials highlighted for the CCSPD Town Hall: East Campus Quad Renovations
Currently the recording of the event provided does not include the closed captioning embedded within the video. As we work to resolve this issue of embedding closed captioning to the recording, please review the closed captioning transcript as well as the chat transcript for the event.
Should you have questions about the items provided or you have specific feedback regarding the event please contact Jennifer Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Chancellor Amiridis responded to CCSPD's call to action for the East Campus Quad renovations with the following statement:
May 12, 2022
Dear Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities (CCSPD),
Thank you for coordinating the recent town hall to discuss the east campus quad renovations. We appreciate your continued engagement and thoughtful coordination to ensure that everyone on our campus has an opportunity to voice their concerns when it comes to campus improvements. In response, on behalf of the UIC administration, I would like to outline the steps that have been taken throughout the entirety of this project, as well as address your outstanding questions.
2018 Master Plan Update
The quad renovation is part of UIC’s Master Plan Update, a vision for changing and growing our physical infrastructure to support the university’s mission of teaching, research, public service and health care.
Beginning in 2017, the university followed a multi-step process to communicate strategic recommendations for the construction of new facilities and open spaces by launching a website highlighting each project and offering a mechanism for feedback. We also held several public engagement opportunities with university stakeholders through town halls, campus communications, design review committee meetings and an open comment period to solicit input from stakeholders. Based on community feedback, improvements and modifications were made and the plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in November 2018.
Quad renovation project
The quad is a familiar gathering space in the heart of campus that has not reached its full potential due to a lack of pedestrian amenities and landscaping. The vision for the quad is to encourage community interaction with an abundance of opportunities for programming, activities and outdoor events near the east campus lecture centers.
As a nod to the original campus design and historical significance of the quad for social and public events, the current design features a central, partially enclosed area to allow for a variety of activities such as seasonal programming, speakers and student activities. To allay any misperceptions, the design does not include a permanent ice rink; a temporary rink may be added during the winter break but only for a limited period of time.
The current proposed design is ADA compliant and incorporates several inclusive and universal design elements for parks and plazas, including a variety of seating options, trees, well-lit spaces, isolated and open spaces, and options for serving the varying needs of many.
The current design also includes a stage with ramp access, electrical availability, and a grassy center area with 20-foot-wide sidewalks to allow for pedestrian movement around the perimeter. Concerns expressed a year ago were focused on the sustainability and accessibility of this design.
To ensure that accessibility standards were met, the university hired Chicago’s pre-eminent accessibility consultant, LCM Architects, to review the design.
Feedback and recommendations from stakeholders have since been incorporated and enhanced the future use of this space. During the past several months, the project management team and members of the UIC leadership team have met with representatives of the CCSPD, the Heritage Garden, the Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, and Undergraduate Student Government, as well as other campus stakeholders, to further enhance accessibility, inclusivity and sustainability elements. As a result, the following changes were made:
- Tables around the central green space were changed to 18-inch-high benches to enhance visibility and allow wheelchair users to transfer to the seat wall.
- Tactile pavement was added to denote surface changes from pavement to grass.
- The transition to green space was reduced from 18 to 6 inches to lessen the slope and make it easier to navigate.
- The specifications of soils and grass were changed to match the Great Lawn at Millenium Park, which meets ADA accessibility guidelines.
- The movable furniture was changed to desk height fixed furniture, which can be used by wheelchair users.
- The width of the walkways around the central green space was increased from 15 to 20 feet to facilitate traffic around the green space. In comparison, the widest walkways on campus are 15 feet wide with significantly more traffic than the quad area.
- A large underground detention vault was added to divert stormwater.
- More shade trees and a rainwater garden with native plants were added.
We are grateful for the input and engagement provided by students, faculty and staff. Their recommendations have led us to significant improvements in the final design. According to the experts involved, this design has addressed all the sustainability, accessibility and inclusivity issues raised.
What remains unresolved – based on your message – is an issue or preference for a central concrete surface versus grass. This preference is associated with the notions of a “historic town square” and the ability to demonstrate on campus. While the quad has changed significantly from the original central amphitheater, our commitment to providing space for community members to engage in activism and peaceful demonstration has not. In this latest update, demonstration is facilitated with a new stage and can take place on grass like many other universities and cities demonstrate daily. While I respect your preference, I am unable to find a strong basis for the need for another set of changes and delays.
I much appreciate your support for the beautification of the campus, as expressed at the beginning of your message.
I think that we have already exhausted the relevant issues and I’m concerned that any further delays will put the entire project at risk. In order to complete it before the beginning of the fall semester, the renovation will move forward next week.