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Illinois Institute of Technology names architects for new building

Updated: April 9, 2014 6:14AM



The Illinois Institute of Technology on Friday named architects John Ronan Architects and Shepley Bulfinch to design a new $40 million innovation and technology entrepreneurship institute on the South Side campus.

The institute will be the first new academic building to be built at IIT since 1968.

Shepley Bulfinch, headquartered in Boston, is known for designing the Art Institute of Chicago in 1892, when the firm was known as Shepley Rutan & Coolidge.

John Ronan Architects designed the Gary Comer Youth Center and the Poetry Foundation.

To help fund the initiative, IIT has received a $10 million “challenge” gift from alumnus Ed and Carol Kaplan.

Ed Kaplan co-founded Zebra Technologies, a Lincolnshire-based maker of bar-code label printers.

IIT intends to match that grant. The Kaplans had previously given $1 million toward the institution’s creation. Groundbreaking is expected to take place in late 2015 and could open as early as 2017.

The center will be focused on learning how to create things, and will work with IIT’s technology park to commercialize those things, said IIT President John L. Anderson at a news conference at the tech park on Friday.

The innovation and entrepreneurship institute will house IIT’s institute of design and the university’s Idea Shop, composed of a state-of-the-art rapid-prototyping lab, collaborative teaming areas, Inter-professional Projects Program (IPRO), entrepreneurship initiatives and summer programs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the institute is particularly important in keeping students in Chicago.

He said IIT is a major part of Chicago’s history, and the new innovation center will make Chicago’s big shoulders even broader because it will create patents, jobs and marketable ideas.

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