Mathematics department makes alternative arrangements for classroom space

URBANA, Ill.—In anticipation of impending construction work on the building, no courses will take place in Altgeld Hall starting Fall 2023.

The University of Illinois is currently working with the Illinois Capital Development Board to renovate Altgeld Hall, which has served as the home of the mathematics department since 1956. The renovation is part of the Altgeld & Illini Halls Project, which aims to increase space capacities on campus to accommodate rising demand for degrees related to data science.

The first phase of the project—the demolition of Illini Hall—began in January 2023. Exterior work on Altgeld Hall is currently scheduled to begin during the spring semester.

Though mathematics courses will likely not take place again in Altgeld until after interior renovations on the building are complete, steps have been taken to ensure that until classes are back in Altgeld, affected students, faculty, and staff can remain as centrally located as possible.

Many courses were relocated to spaces within or near the main quad, says Alison Champion, the associate director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mathematics. “We are pleased with the classrooms assigned to us for Fall 2023 classes, and grateful that Catalog Management & Section Scheduling (CMSS) took great pains to find the best rooms possible, given the limitation that many spaces were already reserved for other departments.”

The mathematics department’s advising team anticipates minimal or no disruptions to students’ plans for their Fall 2023 class schedules. “For many students, classes being outside of Altgeld will mean that they now have math classes in buildings where they are accustomed to having science, writing, language other than English, or other general education classes,” says Champion.

Some students may even experience a reduction in the amount of traveling they have to do between classes. For students who may be wondering if they can squeeze in a class during a particular timeslot given the new course locations, advisers recommend using the “walking route” option in Google Maps to help gauge travel times between classes in different buildings.

For Fall 2023, schedulers were able to reserve ADA-compliant classrooms for all mathematics courses—a first for the department. Eight of the classrooms in Altgeld Hall are currently not accessible to people who travel by wheelchair, leaving course schedulers with limited options to address accommodation requests. Members of the department’s undergraduate studies office indicated that in the past, relocating courses was often the best option for providing certain types of accommodations, and sometimes that relocation happened several weeks into a given semester. Plans to renovate Altgeld Hall address these accessibility concerns, but until the construction project is complete, math advisers hope that the temporary mathematics course locations will provide an improved experience not only for students with disabilities, but for the entire department and student body at large.

Facilities personnel for the Department of Mathematics have also begun preparing other Altgeld occupants, such as those who hold office space there, for an eventual move out of the building. Facility Operations Coordinator Kevin Armstrong indicated that the specific timeline for that move is not yet available.

Altgeld Hall has undergone at least three other renovations since it was first built in 1896. The current renovation project aims to equip Altgeld with modern classrooms, make the entire building accessible to people with disabilities, and enhance its energy, heating, and cooling systems. Though many aspects of Altgeld Hall will be modernized, the project also focuses on restoring historical features, including its pink sandstone exterior, an impressive collection of mathematical models, and the mosaics, murals, and woodwork in the mathematics library.

For more information about the Altgeld & Illini Halls Project, visit Those who have questions about the how the renovation work could impact classes, offices, and events can contact