New Concordia dormitory nears completion

$14.3 million project about 90 percent finished

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By Thomas Vogel

Staff Reporter

Concordia University in River Forest expects to officially open its newest campus building, a 5-story student residence, in mid-August, according to school officials.

Construction on the $14.3 million dormitory, which will house 84 upperclassmen in the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, began in August 2016. The building is on the campus' eastern edge, abutting Bonnie Brae Place, just south of the parking garage. The university is on track to finish the project within a few weeks of the original timeline and the total project cost is right on target.

River Forest Village Administrator Eric Palm said he has has not received any significant complaints from residents. His office is keeping tabs on the project and he called Concordia a "great partner."

When the project was approved in July 2016, university officials said the construction was necessary to keep pace with other local schools, like Dominican University and Elmhurst College. The 64-foot-tall building will have suite-style, two- and five-bedroom units and can house up to 150 students.

"We need suite-style housing," said Dennis Witte, Concordia's vice president for administration in 2016. "We're losing students because we do not have good housing amenities." 

As planned, the interior of the top two floors, including carpeting, drywall and paint, will remain unfinished until the university raises an additional $3 million.

Exterior work on the building concluded in May, while interior work is ongoing. Construction on sidewalks and landscaping is also moving forward and "minor exterior work" may continue in September.

A spokesman for Concordia, Eric Matanyi, said the university has addressed a few noise complaints from neighbors.

"The university has diligently maintained clear and open communication with both the village of River Forest and its neighbors throughout the process," Matanyi wrote in an email. "University officials have addressed a few minor noise complaints; however, comments from area residents have been overwhelmingly positive."

This is the first residence hall added to Concordia's campus in nearly a half century. In 1969, Gross Hall was built on the southeast corner of campus.

Matanyi said the last significant construction on campus was the addition of the Walter and Maxine Christopher Center for Learning and Leadership, a space for the university's early childhood education program, in 2002. 

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