A collision between two vehicles resulted in major damage to the limestone “Illinois Institute of Technology” sign at 31st and State Street shortly after 8:40 p.m. on Monday October 4, 2021, cracking and knocking over the southernmost portion of the sign. The damaged sign then read "Illinois Institute of T-" or "-stitute of Technology," depending on which side is was read from, causing a small but humorous student reaction online. The broken section of the sign was removed and the incomplete lettering covered by the afternoon of Tuesday October 5.
For more information and information, TechNews reached out to Bruce Watts, the vice president for administration at Illinois Tech and a leading figure in Public Safety and Facilities. The sign itself — with a duplicate at 35th and State Street — was originally comprised of a dark grey limestone top with white lettering on top of a concrete pedestal. That concrete base is then fixed to an underground concrete foundation by steel reds. The sign was constructed in thirds, lengthwise along State Street.
In the accident, the southernmost third of the sign at 31st and State Street was struck from east to west, resulting in that section being knocked over and resulting in a major crack to the pedestal. It also resulted in the steel rods which fixed the concrete pedestal to the foundation being sheared and suffering other significant damage. Because of damage to both the steel rods and concrete pedestal itself, the portion of the sign cannot be fixed and needs to be entirely replaced.
It is not entirely clear how the crash came about, as it would have involved a car traveling south down the northbound lanes in order to crash the sign from the east. TechNews is in the process of reaching out to the relevant authorities to find out more.
Watt was hesitant to set a goal or a deadline for when the sign will be replaced. The broken third will need a replacement that is custom-made, and Illinois Tech has not yet received any finalized quotes back from contractors yet. When a potential goal for the end of the fall 2021 semester was proposed, Watts remarked that it would be “tight,” citing the facts that the incident had occurred well into the semester and that receiving and comparing quotes from contractors can be a protracted process.
Despite the timeline, Watts affirmed that getting the sign replaced is a “top priority” for Illinois Tech. “It’s a part of the university’s image and branding,” Watts affirmed, with the two limestone signs being displayed prominently at both the north and south ends of campuses. Because of this, the university wants to get the northernmost sign fixed as soon as it can, while making sure it is done correctly. TechNews will be staying in touch with Watts on the matter, with future goals including finding out more about the replacement process and potentially finding out the fate of the broken pieces of the sign.