courtesy LAS News Magazine, Winter 2015 edition
In the late 1800s, with the University of Illinois facing growing enrollments and limited space, renowned University architect Nathan Ricker designed a distinctive teaching and research building at the heart of campus that he hoped would endure through the ages. He produced a gem—the Natural History Building.
This historic structure has hosted generations of students studying geology, biology, and other disciplines. Distinguished scholars have taught, established laboratories, and conducted groundbreaking research within its walls.
But designs and infrastructure that worked for the 19th and 20th centuries do not meet today’s teaching and research demands. The Natural History Building has reached a critical juncture and it must evolve dramatically to continue to serve our campus. Thus, the University has begun a $70 million renovation that preserves the building’s historic exterior while transforming the interior into a new world of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, and meeting spaces.A Vision
The renovation of the Natural History Building will create a dynamic education and research center. It will house classrooms, laboratories, and offices for current and future generations of geologists, geographers, and atmospheric scientists, and will be the center for biological and environmental education for students from across campus.
IB students will gain skills to examine challenges such as the outbreak of a new infectious disease or the causes and consequences of declining biodiversity. They will combine an understanding of basic natural history with new technologies that will bring breakthroughs in fields such as genomics. The holistic approach of the School of Integrative Biology will prepare students to tackle complex problems ranging from understanding evolutionary processes to developing biofuels.