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Northwestern plans major facilities projects to bolster academic and research efforts

mudd building
Northwestern will complete the interior build-out of Mudd Hall.

Northwestern will embark on two major capital projects on its Evanston campus designed to further the University’s ongoing commitment to research and academic excellence. These projects will advance Northwestern’s strategic vision and mission by providing new and renovated spaces for cutting-edge research laboratories and interdisciplinary social sciences.

The projects focus on Mudd Hall and the Donald P. Jacobs Center. They come on the heels of a number of other major projects that have supported research and academics, including the opening of the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub, the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center and the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Chicago.

“These major enhancements are one way we continue to demonstrate Northwestern’s sustained support of our teaching and research, and of the exceptional faculty who perform this critical work,” Provost Kathleen Hagerty said. “These spaces also will help further elevate Northwestern’s presence as a global leader at the forefront of discovery.”

The two projects are in the initial stages of the planning process.

Mudd Hall

Relaunching planning efforts that were started before the pandemic, Northwestern will complete the interior build-out of the top two floors of the three-story Mudd Hall. Comprising 77,000 gross square feet, this project will introduce new research space by Fall 2023. The new space will house interdisciplinary wet labs, as well as offices and support spaces for Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

This project is the final phase of the renovation of the Seeley G. Mudd Library Building. The first phase, completed in 2017, focused on creating collaborative student spaces, such as group study rooms, makerspaces and experimental pedagogy classrooms. It also included research laboratory space. In 2019, the third floor was built out for McCormick’s Computer Science department, allowing for critical expansion in alignment with Northwestern’s focus on data science.

“Research has played a pivotal role in Northwestern’s success and reputation, and has been our path to addressing societal challenges and advancing exciting fundamental science,” Vice President for Research Milan Mrksich said. “These crucial investments in our facilities will accelerate our ability to advance our research efforts and attract even more world-class talent to the University’s thriving research enterprise.”

Donald P. Jacobs Center

Northwestern also is moving forward with plans to transform the Jacobs Center into a lively forum for flexible and adaptive teaching and research, for which the University is renowned. Jacobs will re-emerge as a dynamic academic platform for Northwestern’s social sciences, initiatives in data science and rapidly expanding global engagement — anchored by the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs.

“This university thrives at its academic intersections,” Hagerty said. “This will be the first space on this scale at Northwestern dedicated solely to interdisciplinary social sciences work.”