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Wabash Tour in Photos

This photo tour will provide a description of the following areas:


The Wabash Building was constructed to meet the needs of Roosevelt students both now and in the future.    Northwest View

The building is 32 stories and 469 feet high.  It is the second tallest university facility in the United States and the sixth tallest in the world.  The building cost $118 million to build and furnish.  The building’s first five floors are devoted to student services and student life activities.  Floors six through 12 are for academic classrooms, laboratories and offices.  Floor 13 is for executive offices.  Floors 14 through 31 are for residential life.  Floor 32 is mechanical space.  There are a total of 633 beds on the residential floors. The total net square feet of the building is 414,585. 

The building contains seven regular-sized classrooms with seats for 36 or fewer students, four tiered classrooms with seats for 60 to 80 students and three auditorium-style classrooms with seats for 78 to 108 students.  Three floors are devoted to science education of physics, biology and chemistry and their associated laboratories.

A residential dining facility is on the second floor and can accommodate up to 300 people at one time. 

The Wabash Building is called a “vertical campus” because the offices, classrooms and residence hall are in one tall building in an urban setting.  This contrasts to many college campuses which have more land for construction over a wider area. The building was designed and constructed to be an environmentally sensitive building and it has received a Gold LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Design / Construction

One of the most challenging and difficult decisions in the process was actually to decide on the design of the building because of its adjacency to our historic landmark Auditorium Building.  The Auditorium Building was constructed in 1890 and was a statement to the rest of the world that the City of Chicago was ready to take its place next to other world-class cities.  Roosevelt University decided that the Wabash Building should also make the statement that Roosevelt University was ready to take its place next to other world-class universities. 

Moon over the Wabash BuildingThe design of the building was completed by the architectural firm VOA Associates.  The skyline design is inspired by a 96-foot high cast iron statue, “The Endless Column” which was created in 1938 by Romanian artist Constantin Brancusi.  It is envisioned that the design of the Wabash Building will be a trendsetter for other universities where campuses have traditionally been comprised of low rise structures amid open spaces that almost always spread or grow out, not up. 

The Wabash Building was designed to create neighborhoods within the building through the use of the following features:  a dramatic two-story main lobby; open spaces linking several floors of the student union; academic areas on multiple floors connected by study spaces at the end of corridors; and breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the city for students living in student housing. 

One of the buildings that was previously on the site was the Fine Arts Annex. After a full review was conducted it was determined that structurally The Fine Arts Annex was in very poor condition and could not be saved.  However, the University was committed to preserving its historic façade which was designed by renowned Chicago architect Andrew Rebori.  The façade  was incorporated into the new Wabash Building and is the now the main entrance for the University’s bookstore.

The general contractor for the building was Power Construction Company.  Prior to actual construction, Power Construction rendered the physical and functional characteristics of the building using a 3D computer program called BIM, or Building Information Modeling.  This computer model saved the project considerable money by allowing the construction team to identify and fix potential conflicts on a computer rather than on the work site. 

Due to the fact that Roosevelt University was founded on principles of social justice, Roosevelt University committed to setting Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise participation goals of 25% and 5% respectively.  The final MBE /WBE percentages were 25.5% and 7.3%. 

Construction of the Wabash Building began in May of 2010 and was finished in March 2012.   

Student Housing

Dorm View

The building has 633 beds on floors 15 through 31.  Most room layouts are suites of either four or five people in a combination of single and double bedrooms sharing a common bathroom.  There are 13 rooms available for people with disabilities.   

There is a 24/7 security on the 14th floor where students pass both a security booth and electronic turnstiles to gain entrance to the residential floors via separate elevators.

Each room in the suite has its own Cable TV/Internet connection, and heating and air conditioning unit. Basic cable and Internet costs are included with the housing fee. 

Twenty washing machines and 22 stackable dryers will be on the 15th floor. Residents can check online to identify how many washer and dryer units are available and also receive a text notifying them when their laundry is complete.

On each floor, there is a study room on the east side of the floor with breathtaking views of the city and Lake Michigan. This study and meeting area is open to all students on the floor.

Academic Areas

Tiered Classroom

The Wabash Building contains seven conventional classrooms with seats for 36 or fewer students, three tiered classrooms with seats for 60 to 80 students, and three auditorium-style classrooms with seats for 78 to 108 students. 

The Heller College of Business resides on the 10th, 11th and 12th floors.  The floors contain faculty and administrative offices and classrooms, including a trading floor classroom on the 12th floor.  It simulates the trading floor of a stock exchange.  An electronic stock market ticker wraps around the hallway and into the trading classroom.  The layout and technology in the room incorporates the latest in pedagogical methodologies.  It can be used to simulate the trading floor of the stock market in order to train students in managing stock portfolios.  This classroom is also designed for interactive teaching and is a showplace for the Heller College.  A glass wall allows visitors to see the activity within. 

A student run Business Store is part of the Business College and is located on the 11th floor.  Each semester business students in entrepreneurship classes can use this room to do "test of concept" and run an actual business in the location. The room is designed to store inventory securely, accept cash and credit payments directly to the university financial system, and will allow students to configure the room to their best market advantage using moveable shelving, tables or racks.  This store provides a highly realistic business activity for students.

The Marshall Bennett School of Real Estate is also located on the 12th floor and is the home of the graduate real estate program and includes a full range of services, resources, and facilities for the use of the real estate faculty, students, and members of the Real Estate Advisory Board.  The Urban Retail Properties Professional Development & Research Center within the Institute provides an on-site real estate and planning library, computer research resources, student study areas, and professional training classes.  The Pasquinelli Family Heritage Room honors the donors and provides a private meeting area.  The senior real estate faculty, including the Gerald Fogelson Chair and the Pasquinelli Family Chair, as well as the MBIRE Director, have offices in the Institute where they can interact with real estate students on a daily basis.  The Institute features sustainable materials and design throughout.  An electronic bulletin board provides industry events students can attend.

New Watson in chemistry lab

Floors, 7, 8 and 9 are devoted to science education and research, housing state-of-the-art modern laboratories. These include three labs for faculty and student research in biology and chemistry, six teaching labs for biology, chemistry and physics, a tissue-culture lab, a microscopy lab and support facilities. Roosevelt science faculty have been recognized recently by the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement for their innovative teaching, and science professors have also won equipment grants, a National Science Foundation research grant, and recognition for research in biodiversity, biotechnology, chemistry and pedagogy. Our biology and chemistry professors currently administer multi-year grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health that support increasing student interest and success in the sciences.

Student Life Floors

The first six floors of the building are devoted to student life activities.

fitness center

On the 5th floor is the fitness center, which is available to all Roosevelt University students.  The Fitness Center has more than 14,000 dedicated square feet that is made up of a strength training area, a cardio training area, a fitness room, a men’s locker room, a women’s locker room and a family locker room.   

Office View

The 3rd floor is dedicated to student organizations and student activities.  Students will have their own offices, meeting rooms and storage space to best support their organizations and plan their activities. The Office of Career Development and the Center for Student Involvement are also housed on this floor.

The 1st and 1M floors will house the offices of Admission, Financial Aid, Student Accounts and Advising.  As a result, potential students will have ready access to counselors that can support their success.

The University bookstore, is located on the first floor and in the basement.  In addition to offering all of the books required for classes the bookstore offers, Roosevelt University apparel, academic supplies, class rings and other snacks.   

dining hall 

The dining center on the 2nd floor seats 300 people.  The dining center has the following food service stations: grab and go, pizza, hot food, deli, grill station and a separate coffee shop. The coffee shop has partnered with award-winning Metropolis Coffee which has developed a special blend of coffee that will be served exclusively at Roosevelt University.  In addition, the dining center has a market that offers a wide selection of bottled beverages and snack items as well as an assortment of health and beauty aids.

Green Features

The building was designed and constructed to be an environmentally sensitive building and Roosevelt expects to receive at least a Silver LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  The following are some of the green features in the building:lobby

  • Mattress Systems:  The pillow top covers on the sustainable mattresses can be removed for easy cleaning and the underlayments can be replaced, eliminating the need to replace the entire mattress, ending up in a landfill.  Instead of throwing away the entire mattress when the cover is soiled or torn, the mattress can be opened to perform maintenance and address housekeeping issues while keeping the mattress in like-new condition. This is much more sanitary than any other innerspring sleep system. The mattress spring is the most expensive component, and it does not need to be thrown away when the exterior and cushioning pads are soiled or worn.  The disposal of the entire mattress into a landfill is eliminated. 
  • Bike Room:  The Wabash Building provides indoor storage space on the lobby level for as many as 140 bikes and showers and lockers on the fifth floor for cyclists who want to freshen up before they go to work or class. 
  • Bird Safety:  To protect birds from flying into the new, mostly glass structure, the façade establishes “visual noise” to reduce the overall transparency of the building.  Architectural features such as the undulating east and west façades further help mitigate the impact on migratory birds.  In addition, the entry atrium will not contain plants or trees.  These items can be confusing to birds as they can see the trees but cannot approach.  
  • Mechanical Equipment Commissioning:  In order to ensure that all of the building’s energy-related systems are installed, calibrated and are performing as intended, the University hired an independent third party to test all mechanical systems, including boilers, chillers, water heaters, fans and lighting, calibrating them for top efficiency as they go on line in 2012.   Roosevelt’s overall aim is for the building’s heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems to perform 25 percent better than energy-efficient standards set by the world-renown American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
  • Construction Materials:  Over 20 percent of the building’s construction materials contains recycled content; most materials were produced within 500 miles of the University, reducing fuel usage and transport costs; and all of the building’s wood – doors, shims, milling, cabinets and shelving – were purchased from the not-for-profit Forest Stewardship Council, which buys exclusively from foresters who replant /replenish trees that have been cut. 
  • Rooftop Garden - Wabash BuildingGreen Roof:  Nearly 8,000 square feet of green roof is on the building’s fifth, sixth, 16th, 31st and 32nd floors. Native plants requiring little water or maintenance cover about half of the structure’s overall roof area, lowering temperatures at the top of the building, helping to reduce downtown Chicago’s urban heat-island effect as well as the University’s energy costs. Each of the green roofs has a slightly different environment, so the plants were chosen for each roof based on those specific climates. 
  • Indoor Air Quality:  All paints, adhesives, sealants, mastics, carpets and other materials will be non-toxic, containing very low levels of volatile organic compounds.
  • LEED Accreditation:  LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. The Wabash Building received a Gold LEED accreditation.
  • Natural Lighting:  The building has a significant amount of natural light (day lighting), as three sides of the structure are glass. Taking advantage of daylight, especially in classrooms and offices, is vital as studies have linked work and learning in daylight with productivity and achievement. 
  • Occupancy Sensors:  The building has occupancy sensors in each room (not including student housing) throughout the building.  The occupancy sensors detect both motion and sound.  
  • Waste Not Want NotFood Pulper:  A pulper system was installed in the dining center to decrease the bulk of solid food waste produced.  This system has the ability to decrease the volume of this waste by approximately 80%.  This savings results in a reduced need for trash haul pick up.  In addition, by the system incorporating the use of recycled grey water, the building minimizes potable water usage. The material, once picked up, is turned into compost for use in landscape and planting beds.   
  • Advanced Recycling System:  A built-in, tri-sorter with recycling chute is accessible on every floor.  The chute accepts garbage and all recyclables, the unit, at a push of a button, will sort and drop trash, paper, and metal into designated dumpsters in the building’s waste/recycling rooms.  A sprinkler system is installed in the trash chute to provide fire protection and a microbe reducing wash down system is installed to clean the chute and reduce odors.

The Wabash Building has an advanced recycling program for paper, comingled plastic and metal.  Each workstation, copy center, lab, classroom and residence room includes a recycling and a waste container.  On each floor there will be a Recycling Collection Area in the “Back of the House” space with large separation containers across from the waste/recycling chute.  The larger containers are for janitorial disposition of paper, plastic and comingled recyclables that once placed in the chute and the correct button pushed are automatically separated in the Tri-sorter on the 1st floor from compacted waste, paper and comingled into two-yard containers.  In common areas and corridors located throughout the building are 47 waste and recycling sites. The individual recycling and waste containers are made of 35% recycled materials.

  • Water Conservation:  The building’s water use will be about 20 percent below what City of Chicago code allows due to low-flow plumbing devices that will be installed throughout the building. With aerators that limit the amount of water dispensed, the devices will reduce water used in sinks and showers throughout the building.  Low-flow toilets will provide water savings in the residential units and low-flow flush valves will minimize water consumption at the public toilets and urinals.
  • Carpeting:  The carpeting in the building is made from 60% recycled plastics (bottles).  In addition to being good for the environment the carpet is very resistant to stains and won’t delaminate like other carpets.