Science Center Stalls

North Central College has started the process of building their new science center.

College officials recently went before the historic preservation commission to request the ability to demolish 6 buildings to make way for their proposed new science center.

The three-story, 125,000 square foot facility is planned to be located along the west side of Loomis between Van Buren Avenue and Chicago Avenue on campus.

While many agreed that the college needed the facility, a handful of residents voiced concern of the mass of the building, saying the design and size doesn’t fit within the neighborhood.

The commission voted down the request 6-1, crediting mostly the size of the building, agreeing with the residents.

“I’m happy that it’s not going to go forward as easily,” said resident, Denise Nigro. “I personally would have liked to have seen the college and the historic district negotiate a little bit more and maybe come up with a better configuration.”

The college can now either go back to the drawing board or appeal the commission’s decision to the city council.

“Clearly, there is still a concern about the overall size of the building,” said Dr. Troy Hammond, President of North Central College. “We haven’t decided what we are going to do next. We will regroup and decide.”

The Historic Preservation Commission is designed to determine the appropriateness of structures planned for the city’s historic district.

The new center is expected to cost around $60 million and the college hopes to open the new facility in the fall of 2017.

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