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Grand opening set for new, 'green' Business Instructional Facility


Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor

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Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend the dedication for the Business Instructional Facility on Oct. 17. The building's honored architect – and alumnus – Cesar Pelli is among the dignitaries expected to attend the festivities.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new, $60-million-plus Business Instructional Facility, the first “green” building on the University of Illinois campus, will be officially dedicated during a grand opening on Oct. 17.

Up to 1,000 people are expected to attend ceremonies at the state-of-the-art facility, with environmentally friendly features such as rooftop solar panels that help power the building and a unique, energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

“Our new building is a physical embodiment of the College of Business,” said Tracy McCabe, assistant dean for external and alumni affairs. “It complements campus, yet it also provides something that is very new, contemporary and forward-looking. That’s how we like to think of our college, as well.”

The grand opening will kick off with welcoming remarks by interim dean Larry DeBrock at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the first-floor pavilion of the building, at the southwest corner of Sixth and Gregory streets in Champaign. A ceremonial ribbon cutting is scheduled at 2:30 p.m., followed by a reception and tours from 2:45 to 5 p.m.

Dignitaries expected to attend the grand opening include the building’s architect, Cesar Pelli, a U. of I. graduate who was named one of the nation’s 10 most influential living architects by the American Institute of Architects.

The four-story building was financed through borrowing and gifts from alumni, corporate partners and other donors, officials say. No state money was used for construction, which began in 2006.

Classes began this fall in the 160,000 square-foot facility, which includes 18 high-tech classrooms, a 300-seat auditorium, a laboratory that simulates market trading and student-focused academic, counseling and career offices.

The building will join just a handful in Illinois certified through LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a U.S. Green Building Council rating system that promotes sustainable development. A gold or even platinum rating – the highest on the council’s four-tiered scale – is expected when the project is certified later this year.

Officials say the building could use nearly 50 percent less energy than traditional classroom buildings on the Urbana campus, trimming utility costs by up to $300,000 a year.