Roosevelt University's New Skyscraper to be Dedicated on May 5

Chicago, IL – Roosevelt University will officially open its new 32-story Vertical Campus at 425 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, on Saturday, May 5 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house starting at 10:30 a.m.

The new $123-million Wabash Building is the second tallest university building in the country (behind the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh) and the sixth tallest academic building in the world. 

Designed by VOA Associates Incorporated, a global architectural firm headquartered in Chicago, the building features a unique undulating shape with blue-green glass.  Construction began in Spring 2010 and the facility will be ready for fall semester classes and student housing in August 2012. 

The Wabash Building is referred to as a Vertical Campus because its laboratories and classrooms, student life facilities and residential housing are all in one tall building in an urban setting. 


The Wabash Building will increase Roosevelt’s classroom capacity in Chicago by 40 percent as it contains seven conventional classrooms with seats for 36 or fewer students, three tiered classrooms with seats for 60 to 80 students and three auditorium-style classrooms with seats for 78 to 108 students.  In addition, three floors are devoted to science education with state-of-the-art laboratories for physics, biology and chemistry, including a laser table room to conduct chemistry experiments using lasers. 

The University’s Heller College of Business will reside on the 10th, 11th and 12th floors and contain faculty and administrative offices and classrooms, including a trading floor, an electronic stock market ticker and special rooms for Roosevelt’s Marshall Bennett School of Real Estate.

Student Life

The first six floors of the building are devoted to student life activities.  For the convenience of prospective students, the offices of admission, financial aid and advising are on the first floor and mezzanine.  The bookstore is also on the first floor and in the basement, while a comprehensive dining center with seating for 300 people is on the second floor.  Other floors contain offices and meeting rooms for student organizations and a fitness center with exercise and weight lifting equipment.

Residential Life

The Vertical Campus will have beds for 633 students on floors 15 through 31.  To enter the residence floors, students take an elevator to the 14th floor where they must pass a security booth and electronic turnstiles to gain entrance to the residential floors via separate elevators. 

Most of the housing layouts have four or five people in separate bedroom suites sharing a common bathroom.   All of the bedrooms have spectacular views of Chicago, rivaling those of luxury apartments or condominiums. Each room in the suite will have its own cable TV/Internet connection and heating and air conditioning unit. 

At the east end of each residence hall floor, there is a common area for studying or relaxing that overlooks Buckingham Fountain and Lake Michigan. There are 20 washing machines and 22 dryers in the building.  A laundry alert notifies residents when the units are not in use and when their laundry is complete.

Green Building

From the onset, the Wabash Building was designed as a green building and Roosevelt expects to receive a Silver or perhaps a Gold LEED-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  Some of the features that make this building green are a bike storage facility for 130 bikes; over 51% of the roof space has native plants; construction materials that were 20% recycled; energy efficient heating and air conditioning equipment; low volatile organic compound paints, mastics, glues and caulks; and recycled content carpets and other materials.

Site Location

The Wabash Building is 469 feet tall and is constructed on a very small site, only 100 feet across and 170 feet deep.  The Wabash Building connects in five places to Roosevelt University’s signature building, the Auditorium Building, a national historic landmark completed in the late 1880s. 

The Vertical Campus is situated on the site of a l7-story residence hall Roosevelt built in 1973 called the Herman Crown Center.  Roosevelt demolished the structure because it was out of date and needed sprinklers to meet to meet city codes. 

In addition to the Herman Crown Center, the Fine Arts Annex, a small office building to the north of the Herman Crown Center, was also torn down.  Roosevelt preserved the façade of the Fine Arts Annex and incorporated it into the design of the Wabash Building. The façade was created by Andrew Rebori, a renowned Chicago architect. Matching the 100-year-old terra cotta was one of the most challenging parts of the construction. The façade is the entrance to the University’s bookstore at the north end of the Wabash Building.

About VOA Associates

VOA Associates is a global architectural design firm that blends the capabilities of a multinational company with the care and attention of a boutique studio. VOA creates distinctive, internationally acclaimed spaces that enhance the environment and improve the human experience – places for people to heal, learn, work and play. As one of the greenest architecture firms in the United States, VOA boasts more than 70 LEED APs who actively pursue the highest standard of sustainable design as a responsibility to the planet and future generations. For more information, visit