CARBONDALE — SIU officials on Monday marked the ceremonial beginning of construction on a new, $36.6 million Student Services Building, a project that’s been under way for several weeks in the heart of the Carbondale campus.
The 125,000-square-foot building will, once completed in the fall of 2013, house 19 SIU departments that deal with various mandatory and elective student services, such as financial aid and transcripts. While being developed to consolidate multiple department locations, most of which are currently housed in Woody Hall on the far north side of campus, Chancellor Rita Cheng said the new building’s unifying purpose is about students.
“It really has a single purpose, and that is providing outstanding service to students and families,” Cheng said.
The process of completing some of the paperwork required of students has long been a complaint of students and staff on campus. Known as the “Woody Hall Shuffle,” students were often forced out of their way to file forms and sign papers within the confusing complex of offices and corridors.
“It’s not just students, as a number of people have directed me when I got lost in Woody,” said Peter Gitau, director of student services at SIU. The new building is being designed with student convenience in mind, he added, noting it’s also being built in the center of campus, just south of Anthony and Parkinson halls, where a two-story parking garage previously existed.
In many ways, the new building, which was funded entirely through fees SIU students agreed to several years ago, will become a part of the campus’ new front door.
SIU President Glenn Poshard called the building a “key component” to the university’s master plan for construction on the Carbondale campus, a process that has been under way for more than a decade now.
The Student Services Building will be three stories tall, with a limestone façade meant to evoke the architectural styling of some of the campus’ oldest structures. It will house departments such as undergraduate admissions, career services, learning support services, new and transfer student programs, housing and financial aid. River City Construction of Benton is the general contractor; White and Borgognoni of Carbondale are serving as the project’s architect.