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ISBA Remodel Creates More Appealing, Accessible Space in Springfield

After nearly a year of renovations, updates to the Illinois Bar Center — the Springfield headquarters of the Illinois State Bar Association, located east of the state Capitol complex — were completed last month.

The original color scheme, materials, and layout also remain in tact to preserve the building’s roots.For many years, the ISBA invested in the Chicago Regional Office, which is frequently used as a meeting space by members. But, as the Springfield office heads into its 50th year of existence, a major renovation was in order. According to Dennis Archer, ISBA’s assistant executive director for administration and finance, “It was time for us to bring [headquarters] up to the level that the CRO is.” After all, as Archer pointed out, “When our members come to Springfield now, we are expecting them to stop by so I think that is what we really got out of it. It kind of opens up another meeting place for our members.”

In preparing for the remodel, ISBA had several goals in mind: to make the space more appealing to members and increase the building’s accessibility, all while preserving the building’s historical architectural roots and maintaining the organization’s professional atmosphere.

To improve the member experience, the west entranceway, which faces the Capitol on Second Street, was converted into a member lounge. This space can be used to work or relax when visiting Springfield. Also, the east entrance near the parking lot has been clearly labeled as the main entranceway to the building for both visitors and employees.

A brighter, more open boardroom.The most noticeable change, however, is to the ISBA’s boardroom. By removing the original rosewood doors and installing glass doors at both entrances, replacing the closet with installed cabinetry, and retrofitting new ceiling lights, the room is now brighter and has a more open feeling.

The renovations also served a more practical purpose — namely, upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Even though we had an elevator, we couldn’t get people to all the levels they needed to be,” Archer said. “And to be able to open our building up to the public, to our members and to staff, we really needed to do that.” Three new chairlifts; disability-accessible bathrooms; a new roof; and a new heating, ventilation, and air condition system were also installed.

As a nod to the original architecture, designed by noted Chicago architect Walter Netsch in 1966, rosewood panels from the boardroom were salvaged and repurposed in the new member lounge. Similarly, the original color scheme, materials, and layout also remained in tact to preserve the building’s roots.

The improvements were debuted on Thursday, March 9, at a reception held at the Springfield headquarters. View photos of the reception here.

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Sara Anderson