West campus outdoor oasis officially opens 

Arthington Mall, soon to be the first SITES-certified university space in Illinois, was officially dedicated Aug. 25 and served as the location for the University of Illinois Chicago health sciences students, faculty and staff welcome event. 

The space, one of the most heavily traveled pedestrian corridors on the west side of campus, was renovated recently to include a variety of green infrastructure improvements planned to make the mall SITES certified — a comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes, measure their performance and elevate their value. 

The 37,000 square-foot space, located outside of Student Center West, also serves as a pathway to UIC’s seven health sciences colleges and health care facilities in the Illinois Medical District. The renovated mall features:  

  • 11,000 square feet of rain gardens with an additional 3,500 square-feet of other native gardens composed of plantings including Eastern Redbud, Common Milkweed, Canada Anemone, Red Columbine and more. 
  • 10,350 square feet of permeable paving on the paths and in the renovated adjacent parking lot, which can retain 653,000 gallons of water a year (about the same amount as an Olympic-size swimming pool). New underground monitors will allow students and faculty to review the effectiveness of these systems. 
  • 24 mature trees to retain water, hold carbon dioxide and provide shade. 
  • 36 light poles with efficient LED light fixtures that lend security at night. 

The property on which Arthington Mall sits was part of Native American sacred land, and nature plays a part in the healing tradition, according to Tol Foster, the interim director of UIC’s Native American Support Program, who also spoke at the event. 

In a nod to the site’s Native American roots, Arthington Mall is anchored by the sculpture, “Tussle” by Ted Sitting Crow Garner, a UIC alumnus and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Garner addressed the audience at the event, explaining the spiritual aspirations behind the piece. 

“It’s about wrestling with two different options and coming out on the other side,” Garner said.  

Dr. Michele Mariscalco, assistant vice chancellor health sciences academic affairs; Angela Walden, director of inclusion initiatives; Zoe Harris, a graduate student in the School of Public Health; John Coronado, vice chancellor for administrative services; Cindy Klein-Banai, assistant vice chancellor and director of sustainability; Rex Tolliver, vice chancellor of student affairs; and Kimberly Neely Du Buclet, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, also spoke at the event. 

Visit Arthington Mall website for details about the space.


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