The Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center building will be torn down and replaced with a new building at the same Mathews Avenue and Nevada Street location.
Campus leaders have promised $4.9 million to fund the construction of a new BNAACC building, expected to open in 2018.
The decision to keep the center at its current location was made recently by the chancellor's Capital Review Committee. The committee's decision does not need U. of I. Board of Trustees approval because the site already is included in the campus master plan. The building's design is still being formulated.
"We know the center is critical to our aspirations to create a truly inclusive campus where everyone feels they belong as members of the university community," said Renée Romano, the vice chancellor for student affairs, following the committee decision.
Gigi Secuban, the associate vice chancellor for student affairs and the director of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, said the decision makes the center one step closer to reality.
"This is one of the final pieces of the puzzle in making this much-needed project a reality," Secuban said. "We're very excited to see this moving forward. The administration has been very supportive."
She said the location was an important consideration. BNAACC's temporary home, in a building at 51 E. Gregory Drive, has been an upgrade as far as facility condition, but its location on the southwest side of campus is not as central as the Mathews and Nevada site.
"This will make the center more accessible to everyone," she said.
Romano said the search for the center's director is being postponed until fall to ensure a fair process for candidates and to seek additional student input.
"This is such an important position to the university, we want to make sure we have the best process possible for finding a new director," Romano said.
The center is named after Bruce D. Nesbitt, who led the U. of I.'s Afro-American Cultural Program for 22 years.