UIHistories Project: A History of the University of Illinois by Kalev Leetaru
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Repository: UIHistories Project: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1896 [PAGE 197]

Caption: Board of Trustees Minutes - 1896
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T h e following resolution was a d o p t e d : Besolved, That the following be adopted as the expression of the sentiments of the Board to Governor Altgeld, touching the selection of designs for the new library building. The Board at first invited a competition among architects and thereby received thirty-eight designs. Having selected the one which seemed most meritorious, and finding it not pleasing to the Governor, and that the author lacked the experience necessary for its execution, it was very willingly determined to abandon the same and, with the approval of the Governor, give the commission for the building to an architect of much experience and wide reputation in the person of Mr. D. H. Burnham, of Chicago. Having entered into a contract of the usual character with Mr. Burnham, ne was instructed to prepare designs, with the special injunction that one should be in the TudorGothic style or architecture, to which the Governor was favorable. Mr. Burnham was also told that if he himself should think some other style better adapted to the circumstances of the case he should prepare a design in that style, but that he should exert every effort to bring out the Tudor-Gothic style successfully. He was advised as to the rooms and space for which provision must be made, and that the building must be completed for a sum not greater than the appropriation, $150,000.00. Under these circumstances the architect has presented to the Board two designs, one in the Tudor-Gothic style and the other in the Classic Grecian style. They are alike in the interior except that it seems easier to include a basement in the Grecian style than in the Gothic style, and accordingly one has been included in the Grecian design. The Gothic building, if constructed of stone, is estimated by the architect to cost $220,000.00, and it seems impossible, as stated by the architect, to reduce the cost below $190,000 by any changes in material or any permissible modifications of the design. The appropriate treatment of the Gothic building apparently requires that it be constructed of stone. The Grecian building, we are advised, may be appropriately constructed entirely of terra cotta, or of terra cotta and brick, even more appropriately than of stone, and we are assured that it can be erected within the limits of the legislative appropriation for the construction of the building. After the fullest consideration and discussion of the whole matter, eight members of the Board (ten being present) expressed a preference for the Grecian design, on the ground that it was more attractive and appropriate to modern educational uses, and particularly to library purposes, than the Tudor design, and by a vote of eight to two it was selected and approved as the design for the new building. All of the members were strong in the conviction that it was imperative to adopt a design which could be executed within the appropriation, to the end that faith might be kept with the members of the legislature and the people. It was also the judgment #of the members of the Board that it was highly desirable to include a basement story in the building, as it is provided in the Grecian design. It is with regret that the Board finds itself unable to approve the design in the style of architecture most admired by Governor Altgeld, who has shown so much interest in and given so much aid to the development of the University, and it is also very much regretted that the Governor was unable to be present personally at this meeting of the Board, for it is believed that in that event he would have seen the advisibility, if not the necessity, of the course which has been pursued. O n m o t i o n of Mr. R a y m o n d it was voted t h a t t h e P r e s i d e n t of t h e B o a r d c o m m u n i c a t e t h e foregoing resolution to G o v e r n o r Altgeld. M r s . F l o w e r moved t h a t t h e B u s i n e s s A g e n t be a u t h o r i z e d to exp e n d , not to exceed $250, in p u t t i n g i n t o b e t t e r c o n d i t i o n t h e toilet rooms in U n i v e r s i t y H a l l a n d M a c h i n e r y H a l l . T h i s m o t i o n was r e -