The Downtown Campus: A not-so-hidden gem

Thu, 2017/09/07
Ethan Castro

Nestled in the obscure region of Chicago known as “the area surrounding the Willis Tower,” there exists a portion of the Illinois Institute of Technology that many undergraduate students on the Mies (Main) Campus may know nothing about. Officially known as the Downtown Campus, this ten-story building (located at 565 West Adam Street, between Jefferson and Clinton) houses the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Institute of Design, and Stuart School of Business. Given the nature of almost all undergraduate courses, it is only logical that many Mies Campus students will spend their time at the university without ever having cause to pay this building a visit. However, given the plethora of events hosted in the building, its networking opportunities, and even its beautiful visuals, the Downtown Campus may be worth at least a passing visit by all undergraduate students.

Accessing the Downtown Campus could not be easier for Illinois Tech students. In addition to being within walking distance of the CTA Red Line (a ten-minute walk west down Adams Street off the Monroe stop) and Green Line (a fifteen-minute walk south down Clinton Street off the Clinton stop), the Downtown Campus is also serviced on weekdays by the Illinois Tech Shuttlebus. This service is completely free to all Illinois Tech students, faculty, and staff, and it operates in the morning, late afternoon, and evening every weekday. The shuttlebus picks up at a number of predetermined stops on Mies Campus before heading to the Downtown Campus. On the return trip, it then stops at both Union Station and Ogilvie Transit Center before returning to Mies Campus. A full schedule of the shuttlebus’s routes and timings can be found on the HAWKi app under the “Transportation” heading.

Once at the Downtown Campus, there are a number of interesting sights throughout the building that are worth paying a visit downtown just to see. Located on the first floor is the Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Courtroom, named after the eponymous Chicago-Kent graduate who served as a senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This fully-functional courtroom is used for both Kent-Chicago instruction and real legal proceedings.

On the same floor, across from the courtroom is the Governor Richard B. Ogilvie Auditorium, named for the titular former governor, who was also a Chicago-Kent student. With 325 seats, this two-story auditorium hosts many academic lectures from prominent speakers in the fields of law and business. For example, the 2017 Advanced Marketing Analytics Symposium was held in March of 2017 in this very auditorium. At this event, the Illinois Tech Stuart School of Business partnered with IBM and the Chicago Innovation Awards to host a discussion on the use of data analytics for innovation in business. Events of this caliber are regular occurrences at the Downtown Campus, and almost all are open to any Illinois Tech student.

Classrooms for both Stuart and Chicago-Kent graduate courses are scattered throughout the first through fifth floors of the building, with a multitude of student lounges and computer labs also available for use by any student. Of particular note is the (non-Sodexo) cafeteria, the Michael & Marsha Spak Student Spakateria, a full-service cafeteria with seating available on both the second and third floors. The sixth and seventh floors of the building are where the offices and studios for the Institute of Design are located.

However, perhaps the single most impressive facet of the Downtown Campus (and perhaps the largest reason that the building is worth a visit) is the Chicago-Kent College of Law Library, which is entered from the ninth floor, and occupies portions of the sixth through tenth floors. One of the largest law school libraries in the country, this library houses more than 500,000 print volumes as well as various other electronic subscriptions. Professional legal reference librarians have open offices at this library to aid with legal research. But what is most unique about the library is the Berkson Reading Room on the tenth floor. This traditional reading room features a beautiful 23-foot vaulted ceiling, modern furniture, and an outdoor deck (complete with patio furniture). The sheer aesthetics of this tenth floor alone warrant a weekday visit to the building.

So, whether it be for a professional networking event, co-terminal business courses, or just to see the impressive visuals, all Illinois Tech undergraduate students should consider catching a shuttlebus to the Downtown Campus.