Welcome, Flames! First residents move into new Academic and Residential Complex

As first-year University of Illinois at Chicago student Isabel Campbell helped her mother unload their car, she was growing excited when it dawned on her that she and her roommate would be the first people to ever live in their dorm room in the newly built Academic and Residential Complex.

“When I first visited last fall, I think it was starting to be built but I’m really excited to see it,” the Aurora native said during Move-In Day Aug. 21. “I really hoped that I would get this building; I was really excited when I learned I would be in this dorm.”

The psychology major was one of several hundred first-year students who were being assisted by student volunteers, staff members and even representatives of the Cracker Jack Company as they moved into the building, which broke ground in 2018. The building, at 940 W. Harrison St., once was the site of the Cracker Jack Company.

Accompanied by UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, Campbell and her mother, Gloria, walked into her new dorm room with bright smiles on their faces.

“This is nice,” said Gloria Campbell as helpers began to fill the room with Isabel’s belongings.

The chancellor reassured Campbell’s mother that her daughter was in good hands and that she shouldn’t worry about her being away from home.

“We’ll take care of her,” Amiridis said.

He said seeing the joy on the students’ and their family members’ faces is a highlight of Move-In Day.

“It’s great to see happy students and happy families — usually the students that are happy are successful,” Amiridis said. “This was our priority from the very beginning. We said, ‘Our No. 1 priority is that the student experiences success.’ A building like this adds significantly to the experience and to the success of the students.”

The complex is made up of a 54,000-square-foot, two-story academic building as well as a 146,000-square-foot, 10-story residence hall, which includes 548 beds.

In addition, the building houses 16,000 square feet of shared spaces, including study and social lounges on each floor, a fitness center, laundry facility and a 10th-floor sky lounge with outstanding views of the Chicago skyline. Amenities include a 1,600-square-foot retail area that holds a Starbucks, which is being run and managed by students and officially opened Aug. 21.

First-year students Lauren Smith and her best friend, Grace Miller, graduated from Crete-Monee High School and are excited to experience living and learning about Chicago together. As they waited to see their room for the first time together, they were looking forward to the views from their room.

“I’m excited about meeting new people and exploring the city,” Smith said.

Quintin Davis from Chicago, a transfer student from Harold Washington College, said that when he began looking around for a school to continue his art education studies, UIC offered him the best opportunities because it allowed him to stay in the city. When he learned that he would be moving into the new residence hall, he couldn’t wait to go inside and see his new home.

“I drove past it multiple times and I was like, ‘That’s my dorm, that’s my dorm,’” Davis said.

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