Bricks pulling away from a window sill on the fourth floor of the Civic Center. (City of Evanston photo)

The City Council Monday is scheduled to approve more funding for emergency repairs at Evanston’s Civic Center.

This time the issue is a bowed exterior brick wall at the fourth floor level on the east side of the building.

City staff says that a gap has opened up between the face brick and the rest of the load-bearing brick wall.

The gap near one fourth-floor window is as much as 3.5 inches, according to the staff report, and overall the issue affects a roughly 12-foot by 30-foot section of the wall.

Staff says the condition “may lead to wall failure, creating an immediate danger to pedestrians below and a threat to the building’s structural strength.”

A contractor, Garland/DBS, Inc. is already in the midst of making $200,000 in emergency repairs to the building’s roof and gutters after water was found to be leaking into some third and fourth floor offices.

The new problem is expected to cost $86,127 to fix, and council members are being asked to approve a contract change order for that amount.

A staff memo says the cause of the new issue is unclear but may be related to the gutter system issues or to deteriorated window sealants — which are a problem on all of the building’s windows.

Staff plans to include in next year’s budget funding for repair to the window sealants and windows and more exterior masonry work all over the building.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Evanston has a proud history and the civic center’s history started before the present location was conceived. The Evanston Historical Society is a fine place to start the search for a grand adventure in learning more about architecture of this city’s historic buildings! Evanston residents have put their trust in the city’s council members. Now, maintaining the integrity of the building is a priority!

  2. The best way to deal with this building is to work out a deal with District 65. They seem hell-bent on putting a school in the fifth ward. The Civic Center is under-utilized in terms of space. And it actually used to be a school. The Civic Center is in the Fifth Ward.

    The solution is to lease half the center to D-65 for the Fifth Ward school. This should cost less than the $30 million D65 needs to build new just three blocks away. D65 can use the “funny money” Horton has found with their financing scheme to help repair the Civic Center.

  3. My Evanston house is also about as old as the Morton Civic Center. To quote Roseanne Roseannadanna, “It’s always something.” Not that new construction (or a new Civic Center) would not need anything fixed…

  4. While this is a serious situation with the building and to public safety and must be addressed ASAP. I wonder how these kinds of things “just pop up”? Is there a maintenance schedule for structural components at the Civic Center? This just looks like deferred maintenance… And then, certain members of City staff, raise the alarm and believe the only solution is to bail by selling it to a developer (approx. 8 acres too) and build a new glass and steel building downtown. This is ALL WRONG! We need to take better care of our civic assets! After all, the greenest building is the one already built!

    Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

  5. I am shocked every time I go to the Civic Center. It is an old fashioned, inefficient building. A progressive city, Evanston should have a modern efficient civic center that we could be proud of.

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