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New BNAACC Design

New BNAACC Facility Project News

updated March 30, 2019


BNAACC 50th Anniversary and Building Dedication | October 4-6, 2019

We invite you to attend the Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) 50th Anniversary Celebration and the building’s Grand Re-Opening! The weekend’s theme is “Built to Grow: Past Achievements Fueling Beautiful Futures.” We believe this represents the strong foundation laid by all students, faculty, staff, and community members from the past, present, and future. It would be a great honor if you would join us. Click here to register

Open House Scheduled for Tuesday, April 9 | March 30, 2019

The Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) has a new home at 1212 W. Nevada St. (at the corner of Mathews and Nevada) and you're cordially invited to their open house on Tuesday, April 9 from Noon-1:30 p.m.. Stop in to learn more about the center's programs and support services plus tour the new facility. A grand reopening celebration will be held in the Fall of 2019.

Installation of Sheet Piling and Temporary Traffic Controls | March 27, 2018

From Wednesday, March 28 through Wednesday, April 4, weather permitting, contractors will install sheet piling on the site of the new Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) being constructed at the corner of Mathews Avenue and Nevada Street in Urbana.

Corrugated steel sheets will be driven into the ground to protect earth, utilities, and property to the north of the construction site. Loud noises, mainly from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., are expected during the construction, and adjacent areas may experience slight vibrations. Additional temporary traffic controls also will be in place at the location.

For more information on the new BNAACC, please continue to check this project news page. View construction progress by connecting to the project webcam.

Demolition Progress Update | March 14, 2018

At approximately 3pm on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, the excavator being used to demolish the old BNAACC building tipped over on site and became stuck. There was damage to the excavator equipment but the excavator operator was able to get out of the operator cab without injury. He was checked by medical personnel on site and released. The subcontractors had another excavator on site to finish demolishing the structure and attempt to dislodge the first excavator late Wednesday afternoon. Work will continue on Thursday and throughout spring break to complete demolition activities and prepare the site for new foundations.

The live feed to the construction site was suspended while workers secured the site after the excavator incident. The feed will resume once the excavator is removed from the site and demolition is able to continue.

We ask that all modes of traffic at this construction corner go slow and pay attention to other drivers and pedestrians. We ask that all pedestrians and bikers to cross the street and move to the other sidewalk rather than walk along the construction site fence where visibility is reduced.

Thank you for your support and patience during this important phase of the project.

Update: As of March 16, the Construction Cam feed is back online. Correction: The equipment that tipped over was an excavator, and not a crane. Description has been update to reflect this additional information.

News Coverage: Fox Illinois | WCIA | Excavator Accident Coverage

Next Phase of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center Facility Construction Project to Begin | March 2018

Construction of the new Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) facility at the University of Illinois will enter its next phase this week, with the demolition of the current structure on the site at Mathews and Nevada, Urbana.

Demolition of the three-story brick house is scheduled to begin Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 9:00 am, and is expected to take 1-2 days. Veya Inc., a minority-owned company, and Stark Excavating, Inc. will be performing the demolition scope of work, and will be overseen by the general contractor, Broeren Russo Builders, Inc. Construction progress can be viewed throughout the project at

Read the full press release

Project Updates | Winter 2018

  • Art in Architecture met February 7, 2018 to discuss solicitation of artwork for the new center.
  • The construction fence around the site at Mathews and Nevada was installed February 27, 2018.
  • Projected demolition of the old center will occur in March 2018.
  • A live webcam of the construction to be installed in mid-spring 2018, and will run until the completion of the building.
  • Preconstruction meetings will be held February and March, 2018 with the construction firm, sub-contractors and architecture firm.

U of I Board of Trustees Approves Budget Increase and Naming | January 2018

At its January 18, 2018 meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a $400,000 budget increase for the new Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, to $5.9 million, and a $2.78 million contract to Broeren Russo Construction of Champaign for the project. The Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Vice President, University of Illinois with the concurrence of the appropriate administrative officers also approved the naming of the Cultural Center, as the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, in honor of Mr. Nesbitt’s legacy and many contributions to the University.

Read the approved January 2018 BOT Agenda Item.

U of I Launches Multibillion-Dollar Fundraising Campaign | Chicago Tribune

The University of Illinois launched a multibillion-dollar fundraising campaign across its three campuses in October 2017. Part of the U of I fundraising goals on the Urbana campus is the renovation of Altgeld and Illini halls, potentially costing up to $100 million; a $50 million facility for health, aging and disability related research; athletic facility upgrades; construction and programming for the Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center; and improvements to the University Library. more...

BNAACC House Goodbye Celebration, October 14, 2017

The U of I community celebrated the history of the first home of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center at the corner of Mathews and Nevada on October 14, 2017. 50 students, staff, alumni, and Champaign-Urbana community members attended the Goodbye Celebration, during which several BNAACC directors share stories, including past directors Nathan Banks, Nameka Bates, and Rory James, and current director Nathan Stephens. Preparation for demolition of the old house began late October 2017. Video of preparations inside the house by Matthew Eaglin.

Design of new UI cultural center unveiled | News-Gazette

Final designs for the new $5.5 million Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Center will be presented to UI trustees when they meet in Springfield next week. more....

View the Design Report Prepared for the Board of Trustees, May 2017

BNAACC Design Proposal Presentations, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

You are cordially invited to see the design proposals for the new BNAACC building presented by Interactive Design Architects. Two sessions will be offered for faculty/staff & students but both are open to everyone.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (51 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign)
10:30 am to 12 pm — Faculty and Staff
12 to 1:30 pm — Students (Lunch will be provided)

Design Feedback Session, January 19, 2017

You are cordially invited to attend the following sessions to give your feedback to the professional design team (Interactive Design Architects - firm website) that will be creating the layout for the new BNAACC building. There will be two feedback sessions for faculty/staff as well as students, but please attend the session based on your availability as both sessions will be the same. We have limited time to collect feedback from campus, and this is your opportunity to give that feedback.

All feedback sessions will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 at the following times:

Faculty/Staff Feedback session from 10–11:30am (for faculty/staff, but open to all)

Student Feedback session from 11:30am–1pm (for students, but open to all)

All sessions will be held at the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, located at 51 East Gregory in Champaign.

Illinois School of Architecture Alumna Dina Griffin (BSAS 1986) and IDEA to Design New Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center on Campus | Illinois School of Architecture

Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) has been selected to design the rebuilt Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center. The firm is led by Illinois architecture alumna Dina Griffin (BSAS, 1986).

Griffin told the campus News Bureau that “When we got the call that we were short-listed, I said, ‘Somebody pinch me.’ To be able to design a new cultural center on a campus where my education as an architect began is priceless.”  more....

Architect Selected for Nesbitt Center Construction Project | News Bureau

Interactive Design Architects, a Chicago-based architecture firm, has been selected to design the rebuilt Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Originally located at the intersection of Mathews Avenue and Nevada Street in Urbana, the center occupies temporary quarters at 51 E. Gregory Drive, but will be rebuilt at its original site.  more...

Former Site is New Site for Campus’s African-American Cultural Center | News Bureau

The Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center building will be torn down and replaced with a new building at the same Mathews Avenue and Nevada Street location.

Campus leaders have promised $4.9 million to fund the construction of a new BNAACC building, expected to open in 2018.

The decision to keep the center at its current location was made recently by the chancellor's Capital Review Committee. The committee's decision does not need U. of I. Board of Trustees approval because the site already is included in the campus master plan.  more...

New African-American Cultural Center Coming to UI | News-Gazette

A new cultural center for African-American students at the University of Illinois, who have been using temporary quarters since their original home closed for safety reasons last year, is scheduled to open by 2018.

The campus has committed $4.9 million to build a new Bruce D. Nesbitt African-American Cultural Center, which was founded in 1969 and later named for its longtime director.  more...