Judson University hosted a Renovation Announcement on Friday, December 3 to celebrate the start of renovations to the building located at 28 N. Grove Ave. in downtown Elgin.
The building had housed the PNC Bank and was vacant for several years before it was purchased by the World Leaders Forum, a nonprofit organization that has brought world leaders and entrepreneurs to the Fox Valley for the last 10 years. The purchase was made possible through a gift from a donor. Since that time, the World Leaders Forum has gifted the property to Judson University.
“This opportunity benefits both our students as well as the Elgin community. Our graduate architecture students can live in apartment-style housing in downtown Elgin where their studio will also be housed, and the downtown Elgin business community will have the economic benefit of over 20 students living, eating and shopping downtown as well as attracting their friends to come visit Elgin,” said Judson President Gene Crume.
Plans for the renovation include using the first floor to house the Glunz Studio for Architecture and Urbanism as well as a studio space for students studying in Judson’s Master of Architecture program, a fully accredited program that has earned national recognition for being one of a handful of architecture programs in an evangelical Christian institution.
“The economic impact of Judson University is substantial, not only to the city of Elgin, but to Kane County. Since the World Leaders Forum acquired the property in downtown Elgin, that nonprofit, which is affiliated with Judson University, has paid over $44,000 in property taxes. Judson University’s total economic impact, according to resources such as the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities as well as the Associated Colleges of Illinois is well over $44 million dollars a year,” said President Crume. He noted that the University also contributes 545 jobs to the area; brings approximately 10,000 guests to university events; and contributes an estimated $7.5 million to the economy from students, families, and guests.”
During the Renovation Announcement, Elgin Mayor David Kaptain, Judson Board Trustees Randy Gauger, and Benjamin Glunz discussed the unique aspect of this renovation that will expand Judson’s campus to include this downtown location.
“We’re so happy that this space can be adaptively reused,” said Mayor David Kaptain. He reminded attendees that this is not the first time that Elgin has created living space downtown, referring to the Elgin Art Space which was built 10 years ago and provides living and working space for artists. “I think this space will help [architecture] students learn what it takes to live in a downtown community like this and see and help develop a vibrant city.”
The architectural renovation design services are being provided by Benjamin Glunz and project architect Ethan Meadows of Studio Vertex, an architecture firm based in Elgin. Glunz is also the founder and CEO of Anguleris, a global construction technology company that helps building product manufacturers and building professionals work together seamlessly. Glunz is an alumnus of Judson, where he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Architecture.
The general contractor for the renovation will be Shales McNutt Construction, a local business that completed several projects for the university in the past. Plans call for the space to be available for the Fall 2022 academic year.