The University of Illinois Board of Trustees on Thursday approved the design of the new Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) headquarters, planned as an anchor for a new innovation district in Chicago’s newest neighborhood.
Part of the University of Illinois System, DPI and state and city of Chicago leaders unveiled the design in September.
“DPI is leading the way in expanding our inclusive workforce-development efforts, research and development, business creation and the continued cultivation of strategic partnerships that will bring new opportunities to the city of Chicago and the entire state,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “This new headquarters will serve as a hub for innovation and provide opportunities for faculty and students from across the university system. I am grateful for the trustees’ support of this transformational project.”
DPI Executive Director Bill Jackson added that the new headquarters will allow DPI to accelerate and scale its workforce training and other initiatives.
“In this new building, we can ramp up our efforts to make connections with partners from across Illinois and around the world and open the doors of the tech sector to more women and more people of color in Chicago,” Jackson said. “We appreciate the trustees’ commitment to DPI and to our work.”
Located on a 1-acre site in The 78, an innovation district on the Chicago River, DPI’s headquarters will feature more than 200,000 square feet of office, classroom, lab and event space for DPI and its education and industry partners. Groundbreaking is expected in spring 2024.
With the support of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the state of Illinois appropriated $500 million in 2019 to the U of I System’s Illinois Innovation Network, a collection of 15 research and innovation hubs statewide that includes DPI. Approximately $235 million of that funding was earmarked for DPI’s headquarters.
The eight-story building – a layered dome of glass and steel – is designed to create strong connections to the communities on all sides of the building, the adjacent riverfront, and the future phases of the larger innovation district at The 78.
Architecture firms OMA and Jacobs are leading the design. The Illinois Capital Development Board oversees design and construction. Related Midwest, developer of The 78, donated the land for DPI and will oversee the continued buildout of the 62-acre property.
DPI trains people for high-demand tech jobs, conducts applied research and discovery, and supports business building.
Trustee Wilbur Milhouse III was sworn in at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting.
Milhouse was appointed Tuesday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, pending Illinois Senate approval, to fill the seat vacated by Naomi Jakobsson. His term runs through Jan. 15, 2029. Two board seats remain open.
Milhouse lives in Chicago and is chairman and CEO of Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
Student health insurance
Trustees also approved student health insurance rates for the 2023-24 academic year.
At UIUC, the cost will go up by $71.20 per semester for undergraduate students. The 10 percent increase to $783.20 per semester is needed to cover greater demand for health services, including mental health services.
At the University of Illinois Springfield, a 2% increase will raise the cost by $23 to $1,124 a semester.
Student insurance rates at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) will not change.
Students may choose not to participate in the student health insurance program by providing evidence of comparable coverage from other sources.
The board appointed Mary Claire Stewart as the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian at UIUC. She will start May 16.
Most recently, Stewart was dean of libraries and professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She previously worked at the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University.
Also, Michael Ginsburg was appointed to serve as interim vice chancellor for budget, human resources, and financial administration at UIC. Ginsburg has served in that role in a designate capacity since Feb. 1. A UIUC graduate, Ginsburg has worked in various leadership roles at UIC since 1978 and as an assistant professor of education since 1994.