Morton Park shows no signs of construction…yet

Tue, 2017/02/21

Last August saw the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship. The event was highly publicized both on and off campus, bringing numerous famous and important people in the city of Chicago to the Mies Campus for the festivities. Despite all the hype, however, there has still been no progress on the construction of the new building since the end of the ceremony. In the past half year since the ceremony took place, the only signs of the future academic structure are a partial wire fence with an image of the building attached to its side and a barely visible ditch in the ground where the digging took place in the ceremony. Beyond these two items, Morton Park has basically been untouched, containing no signs whatsoever of the construction that is supposed to last over a year.

Despite these unconvincing looks at the future construction site, massive progress is being made behind the scenes to get the project up and running. It has been noted numerous times both on the university website and by personnel involved in the project that many bureaucratic obstacles and regulations had to be taken care of prior to the actual building of the structure. While many of these regulations and required paperwork were completed by the time of the groundbreaking ceremony, there was still more to do. Ensuring that the building follows city regulations and standards helps to ensure the safety of the building for students and staff.

In addition to this crucial factor is another more obvious point in terms of actual construction: weather. Starting construction in late fall makes no practical sense, especially in a city like Chicago, where the winters can be long, fierce, and brutal for even the most experienced of construction workers. With such poor working conditions, it is unlikely that much, if anything, would be completed by the end of winter. The incomplete structure as well could suffer from conditions produced by the harsh winter. Crucial building utilities such as plumbing, electrical wiring, and support structures would be exposed to the elements during this unforgiving time of year. This exposure could lead to permanent damage, leading to an unwanted increase in construction time and cost, something Illinois Institute of Technology faculty, staff, and students want to avoid. Holding off on construction until spring, when weather conditions are more suitable for outdoor construction work, is often the best option to avoid these unnecessary risks.

For now, the construction of the Ed Kaplan Family Institute for Innovation and Tech Entrepreneurship is scheduled to begin in late March 2017 and is believed to be completed by the end of 2018. With many students and faculty eagerly awaiting the opening of the new facilities, it is as good a time as ever to remind everyone just how much of a virtue patience truly is when it comes to incredible creations such as this new building and the many features and surprises we expect to be hidden within.