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NU plans addition to health center

Northwestern is planning a 15,000-square-foot addition to its Searle health center.

Ron Naylor, the university’s associate vice president of facilities management, said the expansion is needed to comply with new federal health information privacy regulations and other new rules.

Mr. Naylor said the addition to the center, located on the northeast corner of Orrington Avenue and Emerson Street, will be built on the east side of the building on land now used for parking west of the alley.

Although the addition will eliminate 16 to 20 parking spaces, Mr. Naylor said, the university is in the process of adding 200 more parking spaces on the east side of Sheridan Road, where the university observatory used to be.

He said the Searle addition will match the height of the existing building. He added that the university has just selected an architect to design the expansion and doesn’t expect that zoning variations will be needed for the project.

Mr. Naylor and Eugene Sunshine, Northwestern’s senior vice president of business and finance, spoke Monday at a meeting of the University-City Committee established in the settlement of the school’s suit challenging the city’s inclusion of university properties in the Northeast Evanston Historic District.

Mr. Sunshine said the university is not interested in acquiring the former Kendall College property that’s now the subject of a revised development proposal being challenged by some neighborhood residents.

“Kendall came hard after us to buy it,” he said, and then Smithfield Properties, which bought the land from Kendall, “came to us after their first plans were not met with a lot of joy by the neighbors, and we told them ‘no’. NU has no interest in the property.”

Mr. Sunshine said the university has made no plans about what to do with the Roycemore School property across Orrington Avenue from the Kendall site.

“Roycemore’s lease goes to 2014 and the building is in the historic district,” so it’s just too soon to consider, he said, “Given the zoning, I presume it would be used for academic or student services offices. On anything we’d ever propose there we’d work real hard to make sure it is compatible with the area.”

The committee scheduled its next meeting for June 22.

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