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Case Study

Roosevelt University transforms with a groundbreaking "vertical campus" in downtown Chicago

roosevelt university

As told by Miroslava Mejia Krug; Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration; Roosevelt University

This building was more  than a building to us.

Its purpose ultimately was to enhance the mission of the university and symbolize what we wanted to be in the future. Over the past 10 years, Roosevelt had been shifting from a school for adults pursuing education to a more traditional university for 18- to 24-year-olds. This building represented a complete change in how the university would be seen by the student population.

Roosevelt University hadn’t built a new building since the ’70s, so this was a big deal. Plus, the building had to become the new heart of the university with classrooms, housing, student services, recreational facilities, dining, lecture halls, laboratories, faculty offices and student services offices including financial aid, admissions and student accounts. It not only had to contain the entire student experience, but it had to visually indicate it as well.

Since we were going to be part of the Chicago skyline, we involved the community in planning. We brought the entire Roosevelt community and the community surrounding us into the conversation. The building was located next to the Auditorium Theatre, a national landmark designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, so we hired a visionary architect who could pay homage to the masterpiece, but not replicate it. The contemporary look with waves in glass represent what education is all about—modern, inspiring, the future.

JLL was our champion. With strong people on every side of the table—board, owner, developer, community liaisons—we knew we needed someone to represent the university’s interests every step of the way. JLL was there every day, part of the team, always professional, helping to deliver this $128 million project on time and on budget, exceeding expectations.

This project was transformational in every way. The students feel more energized, the faculty more innovative—in fact, they have created more new programs in the last two years than in the past 10.

Even our population has shifted—more than half is now in the 18–24 age group. The building has inspired an educational community to move forward.

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