Ground broken on university wellness center

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Construction has begun at the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus where the university plans to erect a new Student Wellness Center.

The goal of the project is to create a single, comprehensive facility that will serve as an easy-to-access student health, counseling and wellness hub.

Scheduled to be completed by fall 2020, the 30,000-square-foot project will include the ground floor renovation of a portion of the historic building located at 59th Street and Maryland Avenue and known as the Lying-In Hospital that currently houses the school’s student health clinic. A modern glass addition will be added to that, and will infill an existing courtyard.

The design calls for nods to the existing architecture of the Lying-In Hospital, which was designed in the late 1920s by Schmidt, Garden & Erickson in a Collegiate gothic style, and will capture the highly detailed limestone facades of the courtyard within the modern interior of the new infill addition. The gothic stone masonry will be on display by constituting the perimeter circulation walls of the main corridors. Continuous overhead skylights will bring abundant natural light into these passages, celebrating the building’s craftsmanship and continuity between old and new.

The new courtyard addition was designed as a single-story glass structure to maintain a low profile when viewed from the street and so as not to take away from the existing historic building.

“We’re updating a historic building to enable the University of Chicago to meet the comprehensive health and wellness needs of students, and we are doing so in a way that is deeply respectful of the original architecture and seamless in its integration of past and present,” said Kevin Havens, executive vice president, director of design at Wight & Company, the Chicago-based firm in charge of the construction.

“Providing excellent health and wellness services to students in the undergraduate college, graduate, and professional schools is an important priority for the University of Chicago,” said Michele Rasmussen, dean of students in the university.

“This new Student Wellness Center will provide more space, allowing us to increase our staff of medical and mental health providers, and enabling us to build on the enhancements we’ve made in recent years to our programs and services.”

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