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Stevens Building Renovations

The Stevens Building is NIU’s home to the School of Theatre and Dance and Department of Anthropology and has been under renovation since 2014.

The “new” Stevens Building will be 106,000 square feet, 55% larger than the original building.  The state-funded project total is $23.7 million, which includes expenses related to two shut downs and restarts related to the State of Illinois budget.

New features include:

  • A 200-seat state-of-the-art black box theater venue for teaching and performances, providing students the most real-world experience for what they will encounter in professional settings after graduation.
  • A vastly expanded scene shop with direct access to the O’Connell Theatre so that sets can now be built and painted and transported in totality into and out of the theater space.
  • A 330-seat lecture hall which can easily be reconfigured into up to three smaller lecture spaces of 110 seats each.
  • The project meets requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified construction.

Improvements to existing spaces include:

  • Improved classroom and laboratory space for anthropology
  • Dedicated bone storage for anthropology
  • Increasing the theater and dance movement lab into a more functional two-story space
  • Remodeled space for the Players Theater and the Corner Theater
  • Five dedicated classrooms equipped with “smart” classroom technology, three dedicated for anthropology, two for theatre and dance
  • Completely renovated restroom facilities
  • Enhanced building circulation and departmental consideration for better workflow
  • Dramatically improved accessibility
  • Installation of a new elevator

The CDB proposal process solicited submissions from artists to develop an anchor for a new sculpture garden as part of the Stevens Building renovation project.  Artists were asked to submit proposals for a sculpture that incorporated concepts of theater, dance and anthropology to reflect the three academic areas housed in the building.  Chicago-based artist Boyan Marinov’s sculpture, “The Tribesman, The Hero and The Light” was selected by the CDB, and will be installed before the completion of the project.

The School of Theatre and Dance and the Department of Anthropology are anxious to begin the process of moving back into the Stevens Building.  Each area has temporary offices in Grant Towers South.  Theater and dance productions are currently being held at Huntley Middle School in DeKalb, and the Diversions Lounge in the Holmes Student Center.