Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

New INHS Building Planned

After several years of planning, the Survey may soon begin construction on a new building with the working title of Natural History Research Center. A site has been selected, architects are working on the design, and partial funding is in hand. While much remains to be done, we hope that bids can be taken on Phase I before this time next year. This new Natural History Research Center will provide offices, laboratories, and specialized facilities for up to 400 people (250 scientists, plus 150 support staff and students). Total building size is projected at about 210,000 gross square feet and 125,105 net square feet.


For the last 60 years, the Illinois Natural History Survey and the State Geological Survey have jointly occupied the Natural Resources Building on Peabody Drive in Champaign. Inadequate space has been a critical problem for many years. In October 1988 a study by the University of Illinois identified a combined space shortage of over 100,000 net square feet for the two Surveys. By August 1997 the shortage had increased to nearly 150,000 net square feet. In addition, the Surveys lack certain specialized facilities necessary for modern discovery research. When this building is completed and the Natural History Survey moves from the Natural Resources Building, the State Geological Survey will expand into the vacated space. By these two moves, the immediate and critical space needs of both Surveys will be addressed.

Architectural rendering of the Natural History Research Center.

The new facility will be located on the University of Illinois Urbana campus, just south of Gregory Drive and facing Dorner Drive immediately north of the Plant Sciences Laboratory. This location is within easy walking distance of all of our primary collaborators in both the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In addition to significant improvements in the quality and quantity of space, the new building is planned to include several specialized facilities that the Survey currently does not possess. These include a suite of large rooms and associated environmental rooms for aquatic research, and another suite of high-containment rooms that meet federal standards for working with exotic insects and pathogens transmitted by insects. And for the first time, we will have good facilities for our educational outreach program, including a 200-seat auditorium designed specifically for natural history presentations.

The amount of space dedicated to each major function is as follows:

* Research labs and research support space: 46,810 net square feet (nsf)

* Biological collections and associated workrooms: 21,370 nsf

* Offices for scientific staff: 21,155 nsf

* Offices and support space for administrative staff: 9,060 nsf

* Library: 8,800 nsf

* Graduate student offices: 6,000 nsf

* General storage for office and research materials: 4,570 nsf

* 200-seat auditorium: 3,000 nsf

* Several small meeting rooms: 2,055 nsf

* Miscellaneous other areas, including an entryway foyer, a teaching lab, and a lunch room: 2,285 nsf

This is a State of Illinois project managed by the Capital Development Board, with Teng and Associates, Inc., of Chicago as the architect/engineering firm. At this time Teng and Associates are in the design development stage of their work. Approximately 20% of the total funds needed for the project are in hand, and we expect to construct part of the building in the near future while we seek additional funds. The first phase will primarily house our biological collections, but all Survey programs will benefit by being able to expand into vacated space when the collections are moved.

This will be the first significant new construction for the Survey since the Natural Resources Studies Annex was constructed about 30 years ago and the first relocation of our headquarters since 1939. While buildings do not define our program, we are certain that this new research center will allow our Survey to better serve the people of Illinois.

W. Ruesink, Assistant Chief

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Illinois Natural History Survey

1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
Champaign, IL 61820

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