Lewis University Student Center to Showcase Aviation Heritage

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — Lewis University in Romeoville broke ground April 25 on its first-ever dedicated student center. The 25,500-square-foot multi-level student center will soon serve as a campus hub, with a design that pays tribute to the university’s heritage in aviation and aeronautics.

Along with a 2.5-story glass atrium, dining hall, several outdoor terraces, and student life areas for gaming, recreation, media and club activities, the new student center will also reference the university’s aviation heritage. For example, Wight & Company, the project’s Chicago-based architect, designed the facility to incorporate cables that suspend a vintage plane from the atrium ceiling, according to a statement by the firm. Lewis University also has its own airport and has been recognized as having one of the country’s leading collegiate aviation programs.

Robert C. DeRose, CPA, MBA, senior vice president for finance & facilities/chief financial officer for Lewis University, said in a statement that the student center is “the realization of a vision for this campus that has been many years in the making.” DeRose added that the university will name the new building for its recently retired president, Brother James Gaffney FSC, in honor of his 28 years of service to the university.

Steadily increasing enrollment at Lewis University has driven a significant amount of new building and renovation on the main campus, much of which has been designed and built by Wight & Company. Since 2004, the two organizations have partnered on more than 50 individual expansion and improvement projects. Wight & Company was chosen to lead the project using its integrated Design & Delivery model, which means that in addition to designing the new student center, the company will also serve as construction manager and will provide civil, structural and MEP engineering services.

Wight & Company is targeting LEED certification for the new structure, which is slated for completion in August 2018.