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The Petrick Idea Center FAQs

What is The Petrick Idea Center?

The Petrick Idea Center will be a living, learning, and creating community.

  • Programming will purposefully bring together students from across all of the university's disciplines to think broadly about people's needs and creative, ethical ways to fulfill them.
  • Mentoring programs will allow students to leverage one another's expertise, and the expertise of faculty, alumni, and community members, to innovate boldly and with the greatest chances of success.
  • Facilities will promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity
    • Makerspaces and testing/prototyping facilities (e.g., 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC router, waterjet machining, sewing and embroidery machines, power tools, audio/video recording and editing equipment, piano).
    • Amphitheater with learning stairs
    • Offices for top student ventures
    • Meeting spaces
    • Outdoor spaces
    • Teaching spaces
  • Live and learn residential opportunities will allow students to take their innovation, design, creativity, and entrepreneurial passions to a new level.

Why is Illinois Wesleyan University building this center?

A key premise of higher education is that the university contributes to the greater good of society by cultivating knowledgeable, wise, and capable graduates and by generating ideas that ultimately better the human condition. Young people enter the university eager to make their mark on the world, and Illinois Wesleyan graduates do so in large numbers because their immersive work in a scholarly, artistic, or professional discipline is coupled with the broad, humanistic perspectives of the liberal arts and an institutional commitment to experiential and individualized learning. The entrepreneurially-inclined generation Z is looking to invent their own purpose, and Illinois Wesleyan plans to meet their aspirations with a center focused on creativity and innovation.

Illinois Wesleyan's unique combination of liberal arts, professional, and pre-professional programs, and the engagement of our alumni and supporters, position us to approach challenges with a broad perspective and wealth of expertise.  


For whom is the center named?

The center is named for Ellen (Reid) '68 and the late Dave Petrick ‘67, longtime University supporters and Dave served as a former trustee. Their company, Bretford Manufacturing, produces thousands of technology furniture products for schools and businesses. 


How is this project being funded?

The goal is for 100% of this project to be funded by IWU donors and grants. 


Who will have access to the makerspace and its amenities/services?

  • Students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines who want to use their entrepreneurial spirit to innovate and make a difference in the world.

  • Enthusiastic alumni and community partners who want to support the university and support students in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Who will be eligible to live in the residential part of The Petrick Idea Center? 

All students, regardless of major, will be able to apply to live in The Petrick Idea Center. Residents will be selected for their creativity, innovation, and leadership within a discipline. The cohort’s diverse and complementary ways of thinking will bring synergy to the space and to students' collaborative endeavors.

Because the IWU community values the experience of having all first-year students living in traditional halls so they have the opportunity to interact and build relationships with a large, diverse group of peers, sophomores, juniors, and seniors who apply will receive the highest consideration to be selected to live in The Petrick Idea Center. All students, regardless of year at IWU, will have full access to the non-residential areas of the center and the programmatic opportunities hosted there. 


How many students will be able to live in the residential part of the center?

Plans are to house 78 students in the facility. Single suite and double suite  housing options will be offered.


Will there be a connection between course instruction and the center?

All faculty members will be encouraged to use the center and integrate its resources into their courses in creative and innovative ways.


Where will the center be located?

The center will occupy the southwest corner of the Eckley Quadrangle, including the current site of Gulick Hall. View the Site Plan PDF to see where the building would go in reference to existing campus buildings. 


Will Buck Memorial Library be impacted by this project?

No, it will not.


Will there be costs associated with using the center?

With the possible exception of the cost of building and construction materials for students’ projects, we anticipate no additional charges or fees associated with using the resources provided by the center. The cost to live at the facility will vary depending on the housing option chosen and assigned.


How big will the center be?

We are currently planning for a three-story facility of approximately 43,000 square feet, which is almost the size of State Farm Hall. Approximately two-thirds of this space will be for residential purposes. The vast majority of the remaining space will be for facilities to innovate, collaborate, and create. 


How will The Petrick Idea Center support inclusion? 

Like all new buildings on campus, the center will feature inclusive design throughout the facility. The building will have inclusive artwork, gender neutral bathrooms, and accessible entries and spaces throughout.


When will the center open?

The overall timeline for the project will be dependent upon the success of fundraising.


Where is there something similar to what we envision with The Petrick Idea Center on another university campus?

Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah is a facility that most closely matches what we envision for The Petrick Idea Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.