The lakefront will have a new look with planned construction of a new music building, visitors’ center and boathouse at the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus. Rendering from Northwestern University

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Northwestern University announced that it will begin construction of a building this spring that will be the new home of the Bienen School of Music and provide additional space for the School of Communication. The five-story building will be located just south of the school’s Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on the southern end of Northwestern University’s lakefront campus, the University said in a prepared statement.

With approximately 150,000 gross square feet, the new building will include classrooms, teaching labs, academic faculty offices, teaching studios for choral, jazz, opera, piano and voice faculty, practice rooms, student lounges and administrative offices. There also will be a choral rehearsal/recital room, choral and orchestra libraries, an opera rehearsal/black box theater and a 400-seat recital hall. The architect for the building is Goettsch Partners, Inc. of Chicago, said Northwestern.

Northwestern also announced plans to construct a new state-of-the-art visitors center for prospective students and their families. The 170,000-gross-square-foot facility, designed by the architectural firm of Perkins+Will, will include an auditorium with approximately 160 seats, meeting rooms, offices for admissions visitors’ staff and waiting areas for visitors. The new visitors center will include a parking garage that will accommodate approximately 435 cars.

Northwestern also announced plans to demolish the existing boathouse used by the University’s sailing club and replace it with a larger 5,000-square-foot facility near the new visitors center.

The new building for the Bienen School of Music and School of Communication, the new visitors center and the boathouse are part of Northwestern’s southeast campus development plan. The eastern third of an existing two-story parking garage located at the south end of campus will be demolished and replaced with a 120-foot-wide pedestrian-friendly green space that will slope down to Lake Michigan from the new music/communication building and other arts buildings in that area.

The total cost of the southeast campus development projects will be approximately $151 million. The work will generate approximately $2 million in building permit fees for the City of Evanston and is expected to create more than 170 construction and related jobs, said Northwestern.

The parking garage in the visitors center is expected to reduce parking on residential streets near campus by admissions visitors, which now occurs, said Northwestern. In addition, because Northwestern’s parking lots and garages do not require a University permit on evenings and weekends, the new garage will be available for use by people going to the adjacent Evanston beach and park during those times.