New El Centro Facility Under Way

Emily Haddad

From left to right: Alderman Rey Colon; Maria Luna-Duarte, director of El Centro; Carlos Azcoitia, chair of the NEIU Board of Trustees; Alejandra Tafoya, student at El Centro; Governor Pat Quinn; NEIU President Sharon Hahs; Senator Iris Martinez; and Juan Moreno, building architect.


Ground was officially broken on the site of the new $28.5 million dollar Northeastern Illinois University El Centro Campus. Governor Pat Quinn joined Alderman Rey Colon, Senator Iris Martinez, NEIU President Sharon Hahs, and other Illinois dignitaries for the official ground-breaking ceremony at the new Kennedy Expressway-adjacent site.
The new El Centro will feature technology-enhanced classrooms, science laboratories, a library, resource center, study spaces, meeting rooms and more. The modern three-story, 55,000-square foot facility was the design by architect Juan Moreno. The plans intend to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification standards in waste reduction, energy and water conservation, and lower operational costs. The new El Centro will have photovoltaic solar paneling to provide supplemental power. The building will also utilize exterior fin-like structure to control sunlight and temperature along a “glass curtain” outer wall, designed to maximize natural sunlight.
While Governor Quinn and associates broke out shovels and hard hats for the Nov. 8, 2012, ground-breaking ceremony, construction is expected to take until the end of 2013, with the new El Centro building being opened in time for the Spring semester of 2014.