New building on campus to house School of Communication

December 17, 2010

Additional top floor will give every department in the school room to grow

A long-planned Northwestern University construction project set to break ground in the spring has new and exciting implications for the School of Communication.

The addition of a fifth floor to the design for a new building for the Bienen School of Music has created the possibility of a new home for the School of Communication.

The project, slated to be complete within four years, would add 18,000-square-feet to the School of Communication's available space—a boon to the school's growing programs and faculty.

The fifth floor would set off a domino-like set of moves that will have far-reaching impact on School of Communication enrollment, faculty hiring, and student activities.

Fund-raising for the project is underway; the school must raise $5 million to make the project a reality.

Included in the plans are a new south campus home for the School of Communication administration, including the office of Dean Barbara O'Keefe and the Office of Undergraduate Resources, and the net gain of dozens of additional offices for the school's growing faculty.

In addition to the new square footage gained in the new structure, the School of Communication's departments will all gain additional space when the new space lessens occupancy in existing buildings.

Included in the overall plans:

  • New departmental offices and faculty offices for the Departments of Theatre and Performance Studies.
  • Additional black-box theatres in the Theatre and Interpretation Center for classes and student activities and a new entrance for the center on Arts Circle Drive.
  • Additional space in Annie May Swift Hall for the use of faculty and students in the Department of Radio/Television/Film.
  • Additional faculty office and lab space in the Frances Searle Building on north campus for the Department of Communication Studies and the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
  • Three new performance spaces in the building for the Bienen School of Music, which will create availability in other campus venues for School of Communication programming.
  • A new visitor's center for the campus in proximity to visitor services such as parking.

To make a gift to the project, visit the university's giving web site. Naming opportunities are available in all School of Communication buildings. For more information, contact Amy Kahn, Director of Development for the School of Communication, at 847-467-5411 or at



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