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Top 25 of 2013: New spaces

December 7, 2013
NIU President Doug Baker cuts the ribbon at Gilbert Hall.

NIU President Doug Baker cuts the ribbon at Gilbert Hall.

As 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.

No. 24

NIU’s campus continued to grow in 2013 with the return of Gilbert Hall as residential housing, the opening of the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center and the long-awaited start of the process to renovate the Stevens Building.

An Oct. 26 ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house unveiled the Chessick Center, an 87,000-square-foot indoor practice facility that will be used by all Huskie student-athletes.

The Chessick Center offers a full-size 120-yard practice field with two end zones and buffer space around the field. Additional features, including batting cages, long jump pits and a four-lane sprint track, ensure that the facility can and will be used by student-athletes from all sports.

Just more than a month before that, the red ribbon at Gilbert Hall met the big scissors Sept. 20.

Students living in Gilbert are enjoying a residence hall that boasts privacy, easy access to technology, comfortable and contemporary décor and social gathering spaces that include a grab-and-go-style cyber café.

Each residential floor has four lounges, including a fireplace lounge, TV lounge and two quiet lounges. The ground floor includes a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment and a game room.

In May, the Department of Anthropology and the School of Theatre and Dance vacated the Stevens Building and took up temporary quarters in the vacant “A” tower of Grant.

Rehabilitation plans for Stevens, which will begin sometime after Jan. 1, include a new, 6,000-square-foot lecture auditorium with tiered seating for up to 330 students, state-of-the-art teaching technology and the flexibility to be divided into three smaller rooms.