At the most recent Student Government Association senate hearing on Wednesday, February 28, Dean of Students Katherine Stetz announced that Illinois Tech has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the future of campus housing. The purpose of this RFP is to invite interested parties into a partnership with Illinois Tech to build, finance, operate, and maintain on-campus housing. More specifically, the RFP has two primary initiatives: the renovation of the currently defunct Bailey Hall and Cunningham Hall and the development of completely new housing structures. As directly stated by the RFP, these requests are primarily driven by the needs of students as “Illinois Tech’s highest and most urgent priority is to provide modern student life facilities to enhance the first and second year undergraduate student experience. Improved student housing will have a positive impact on campus life because it will help IIT attract and retain high-quality students and will support IIT’s goals of developing community and student life.”
In addition to these improvements to campus housing, the RFP also highlights a number of other agenda items for the future of the Illinois Tech Mies Campus. Of particular note is item 4.1.4, which states the following:
“A new recreation and athletic complex has been highlighted as an additional campus need due to limited on-campus recreational offerings, insufficient space for athletics, and physical shortcomings at its current recreation and athletics facility, Keating Hall. Although not directly addressed in this RFP process, Illinois Tech plans to address this recreation and athletic need with the creation of a “village” concept on the east side of campus. The village is anticipated to incorporate the recreation and athletic facility with the student housing from this RFP and with the development of convenience-based retail to serve both the campus population and the neighboring community.”
This “village” is slated to replace the existing McCormick Student Village (MSV) housing complex, with the end result of having “housing, recreation, and the McCormick Tribune Campus Center all in close proximity. Additionally, the renovation of Bailey and Cunningham along 31st and Michigan Avenue could include some ground floor retail, potentially through the expansion of the ground floor footprint.”
Returning to the primary topic of student housing, section 4.3 of the RFP goes into further detail over what potential campus housing would look like. Dean Stetz reported that her office’s data analysis indicated that for the new housing installations, Illinois Tech students would prefer a pod-style configuration as opposed to more traditional communal-style housing, as is seen in MSV. Slated to be located on Farr Field (across 33rd Street from MSV), this new housing complex would contain 460 beds in a pod-style configuration, consisting of “smaller community sizes, reduced student to bathroom ratios, and more common areas,” as well as “appropriate lounge, study, and programming space on both residential floors and at the main building level.” Regarding the renovation of Bailey and Cunningham, two options are presented by the RFP. The two derelict complexes could either be renovated for upperclassmen and graduate students in their current apartment-style configurations or they can be renovated for lowerclassmen in a pod-style configuration.
Section 4.4 describes a number of non-housing components of the RFP, consisting mainly of provisions for parking, retail, and dining. The parking component is rather self-explanatory, but the retail and dining provisions are particularly noteworthy. Within the retail section, the RFP simply states that “Illinois Tech has interest in providing convenience-based campus retail spaces if it supports the success of the project,” and the dining section states that “retail venues, kitchen space, and/or informal vending areas are also desirable for residential space.”
The remainder of the RFP consists of technical and logistical information for interested parties as well as the Housing Market and Demand Summary created by Brailsford and Dunlavey that informed the entirety of the RFP. Based on the timeline contained within the RFP, one-on-one meetings will be occurring in the month of April, stage 2 of the RFP will be released in May, and interviews will occur by the end of June. The RFP can be viewed in its entirety at web.iit.edu/purchasing/bid-opportunities.