Campus construction moves forward

Construction crews were busy during the summer, and students found some major changes when they returned to campus in August. 

Geisert Hall cafeteria


Visit for more information about the campaign or to make a gift.

Visit Web Extras to see videos of the new Geisert cafeteria and the new Westlake clock tower.

Another cafeteria upgrade took place in Geisert Hall. The dining room and kitchen area were expanded during the spring semester, doubling the seating capacity to 400 and making it the largest dining room on campus.

The expansion also allowed for installation of a full kosher kitchen and the new Balance U program, which provides healthier meal options and educates students about nutrition and wellness through monthly themes, signage, and newsletters.

Holmes Hall

Full service kitchen in Holmes Hall

When the new boiler plant in the Main Street parking deck began operating in January 2010, the plant in Holmes Hall that had provided power across campus since 1911 was decommissioned. River City Construction began converting the space into a full-service kitchen this spring.

“This kitchen was designed to take care of the catering needs for the west side of campus,” said Ron Gibson, director of Dining Services. “All new, high-tech kitchen equipment will make it much easier to prepare and transport meals for the Alumni Center, Westlake, and the Renaissance Coliseum. We may also utilize this operation for daily bakery and to-go foods for the entire campus.”

The remainder of Holmes Hall will continue to serve as a repair shop, offices, and storage.

Hayden-Clark Alumni Center

Alumni Relations staff moved into the new Hayden-Clark Alumni Center in July. Museum-style displays were installed on the first floor in August, as construction of the Alumni Quad west of the building progressed with installation of topsoil, plantings, and sidewalks.

The Alumni Center dedication ceremony and tours will take place on October 15 during Homecoming and Parents’ Weekend. See "Alumni News"

Westlake clocktower

Westlake Hall

The new Westlake Hall copper clock tower and weather vane were installed on July 20. Installation of windows and the limestone exterior on the addition continues. Roofing work is expected to be completed this fall.

Inside Westlake, wall framing is complete. Masonry work at the stairwells and elevator shafts was finished in August, and stairs and railings have been installed.

Last renovated in 1961, the new Westlake Hall will be six times its original size. The final project in the Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance, Westlake is expected to be completed next summer.

—Erin Wood Miller ’09

Not-so-common Main Street

Main Street Commons is the first large housing complex built for Bradley students since the early ’90s, when the 15-building St. James Apartments complex was constructed.

An 88-unit apartment complex was completed on Main Street in time for almost 200 Bradley students to move in before classes began in August. Located across the street from Campustown shopping center, the five-story Main Street Commons was constructed on the site of the former Walgreens.

With wall-mounted televisions and washer/dryers in each unit, the furnished apartments have more amenities than other campus-area housing options. Kitchens feature dishwashers and garbage disposals, and each bedroom has its own bathroom. For an additional fee, tenants may park in a secure garage under the building.

“I think it’s the new construction and the new design that appeal to students,” says GREG COLWELL ’98, general manager of Main Street Commons. “They like the fact that we’re offering resort-style living. Their parents like the security features.”

Residents are issued computerized key fobs they use to enter common areas of the building. A second-floor courtyard allows students to spend time outside. Besides the office, the main floor has a social lounge, fitness center with machines and TVs, and a tanning room. Tenants are currently being sought for “student friendly” retail space on the ground level.

On one floor, 21 Bradley freshmen are in a pilot program that enables them to begin their college experience as apartment dwellers. Two RAs are guiding the incoming students as they would in a residence hall. Meal plans allow the students to eat on campus when they wish. 

“In the ever-competitive housing and incoming student recruitment market, Main Street Commons provides Bradley a tremendous advantage in meeting the wants of students,” says Nathan Thomas, executive director of residential life and leadership. “It is also playing an important role in revitalizing neighborhoods along the Main Street corridor.”

The $13 million structure offers eight three-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom units. It was developed by the Devonshire Group based in Champaign, and is managed by Oxbow Development Corp. in Davenport, Iowa. Oxbow specializes in “student-centric” housing near colleges with enrollments between 2,000 and 10,000 students. 

Main Street Commons plans call for beginning the construction of Phase 2, a second building and swimming pool behind the current structure, within the next year.

—Gayle Erwin McDowell ’77