University to construct new residence hall and dining commons on site of Pierce Tower

The University of Chicago plans to build a major new residence hall and dining commons for students in the College, advancing the University’s commitment to an excellent student life experience with a modern facility near the core of the campus.

Scheduled to open in 2016, the new project will be located between Greenwood and University avenues along 55th Street, on the site of the current Pierce Tower and Dining Commons and the North Field recreational area. As part of the plan, Pierce Tower and Dining Commons will close after the current academic year, and North Field will be replaced by a new field on 61st Street.

The new facility is a vital piece of an effort to enhance student housing and create residence halls that further strengthen the sense of community in the College.

“The long-term future of our College depends upon a residential system that is spatially capacious, attractive to all of our students and integrated into the special intellectual culture of the University,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “The construction of a major new residential complex for the College on 55th Street presents this generation of faculty with an historic opportunity to continue to strengthen the College, and thus to contribute to the long-term success of the University.”

Planning for the new residence hall and dining commons is already under way. During this past summer, a program committee with students and other stakeholders began to help shape the residential and dining programs, building on the successful model of the University’s House System.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to create a dynamic, new residential community that will provide not only an extraordinary building, but also a vibrant addition to our distinctive House System community,” said Karen Warren Coleman, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services.

The new project will join other prominent additions to campus housing in recent years, including the Max Palevsky Residential Commons and the South Campus Residence Hall and the Arley D. Cathey Dining Commons.

As part of a transition period, maintaining the unique identities and cultures of the Houses in Pierce Tower is a key priority as these House communities relocate to other existing campus housing facilities. Campus and Student Life leadership will work closely with Pierce residents and other stakeholders in the coming weeks and months to carry on Pierce’s important legacy and ensure a thoughtful relocation for the House communities.

“Pierce has proudly housed University of Chicago students and scholars for more than half a century,” Warren Coleman said. “We now have a unique opportunity to preserve that important legacy while opening a new and important chapter for the College community.”

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