Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Rolland Center--The Boiler House

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Institution Name: North Central College
Original/Historic Place Name: Physical/Heating Plant
Location on Campus: Loomis and Franklin
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1907original construction Abell, W. W.
ca. 1980removal of smokestack Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: none specified
Walls: red brick
Roof: shingle
ca. 1907facility management building (heating plant for original four buildings)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (coffee house, meeting space, convenience store, cyber cafe)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (maintenance department storage and offices)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Rolland Center, also known as "The Boiler House" was initially built in 1908 as the college's first heating plant to provide reliable, central heating to the college's original campus of four buildings. The facility had the building's smokestack removed in the early 1980s due to safety concerns and lack of use. In recent years, it has become a coffee house and internet/computer lab, engendering more interactions between students, faculty, and administration. Since the college is committed to fostering personal connections between the faculty, staff, and students, the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the Rolland Center demonstrates this idea.

The college, because of its location in a historic neighborhood which has limits on expansion, has had to be creative in maximizing its exisiting space. In this instance, the college took a building that, while charming, had never been viewed by students or staff as particularly significant and created a usable and important social space for years to come.

I. Bibliographic sources:

North Central College & Naperville: A Shared History, 1870-1995. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1995.

Roberts, Clarence N. A Clear & Steady Light: A Brief History of North Central College. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1981.

Roberts, Clarence N. North Central College: A Century of Liberal Education, 1861-1961. Naperville, IL: North Central College, 1960.

Savage, Charles. A College In Its Community. Naperville, IL: North Central College, [n.d.].

II. Location of other data:
University: Facilities Management Office

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