The University of Illinois Springfield has officially purchased the downtown building that will serve as the new home of the UIS Innovation Center. The three-story, 24,600-square-foot building is located near the Illinois State Capitol at 401 E. Washington St.
Scheduled to open in 2025, the UIS Innovation Center will serve central Illinois as part of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) to drive innovation, economic growth and workforce development across the state.
“The UIS Innovation Center will be a strong addition to downtown Springfield and help the university drive innovation and economic development in the city and the region,” said UIS Chancellor Janet L. Gooch. “We are excited to officially have the property purchased so that we can begin putting our renovation plans in motion.”
The new Innovation Center will include:
· Innovate Springfield, UIS’ business incubator, which will double its capacity to help develop new businesses and launch a startup accelerator. It currently supports 81 member companies that added more than 280 jobs to the local economy last year.
· Technology labs, makerspaces and experiential labs where entrepreneurs, researchers and industry partners together can develop and test product prototypes.
· New workforce and professional education initiatives to support local employers, as well as expanded internship and fellowship programs for several UIS academic programs.
· Space for the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership to collaborate with other policy institutes on research and analytical services related to critical issues such as community health, education and career access, and environmental protection.
· Collaborative space for philanthropies, social service agencies, faculty researchers, students and lawmakers to analyze and implement strategies for the advancement of social progress.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the purchase of the $950,000 building from the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association at its July 2022 meeting. The development of the UIS Innovation Center is funded by a $15 million state capital contribution through the University of Illinois and Illinois Innovation Network.
Design work for the building renovations will soon begin, with groundbreaking and construction scheduled for mid-2024.
“We are all eager to begin the design phase of this exciting new space and start our work with industry, government and community partners to build a robust and inclusive human capital pipeline that will accelerate our regional economy and advance social prosperity,” said Bruce Sommer, UIS director of economic development and innovation. “We are grateful for the UI BOT and Illinois taxpayers who have provided their confidence in us and directed us to make this investment in Illinois’ future.”
IIN is a U of I System initiative to boost Illinois’ economy through entrepreneurship, research and workforce development. The UIS Innovation Center is one of 15 IIN hubs across the state.