holmes student center master plan
northern illinois University


The Holmes Student Center project is at the center of a larger institutional objective and necessity to attract and retain more students. The University identified the importance of place and recognized the Holmes Student Center as a target for transformation and an opportunity to create institutional attachment. Through the process, the team discovered that there was an opportunity to leverage NIU’s ties with corporate partners in the Chicago area to the east and NIU’s many alumni connections. The vision emerged to renovate the vintage 1950’s structure and add a signature addition that opens up to the exterior to reinforce the connection to adjacent campus quads. The new pavilion will be a 24-hour beacon that celebrates NIU’s entrepreneurial spirit.

The team met with faculty and staff in the business school and library to crystallize the difference between academic, incubator, and social entrepreneurial spaces. The Holmes Student Center will be different because programming will be open to all students, and located in the one place where everyone comes together. The Holmes Student Center will be crucial in realizing the president’s goal of focusing every resource on Student Career Success.


Scope: Withheld
Total Project Budget: Withheld
Project Location: DeKalb, Illinois
Completion: August 2015
Partner: Dewberry