September 11, 2014

Dedication and Community Open House to Celebrate Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life

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Dedication and Community Open House to Celebrate Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life

Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life

The Johnson Center at North Park University

CHICAGO, IL (September 11, 2014) — North Park University, on Chicago’s North Side, announces the opening of the $45 million Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life. The three-story, 101,000-square-foot building is anticipated to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, incorporating a number of sustainable elements both in its construction and use.

The Johnson Center was named after two North Park alumni and longtime friends of the University who “exemplify North Park’s dedication to ‘educating students for lives of significance and service,’” according to University president, Dr. David Parkyn.

Dr. G. Timothy Johnson served as chief medical editor for ABC News from 1984 to 2010, and became one of America’s best-known physicians, providing award-winning on-air medical analysis on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, Nightline, and 20/20. He still serves as senior medical correspondent for ABC News. Nancy Johnson trained as a nurse at the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing, which included completing science courses at North Park.

Groundbreaking commenced in October 2012 after a successful Campaign North Park development effort, which included more than 11,000 donors, and construction was completed in August 2014. The Johnson Center was designed by longtime architectural partner to the University, VOA Associates Inc., and built by W.B. Olson, Inc.

The Johnson Center features Smart technology in the classrooms and laboratories, including lecture-capture capabilities, real-time sharing of data for collaboration and group activity, HDTV interactive SmartPodiums, and wireless airplay from iPads. Every lab is ADA compliant for wheelchair accessibility, and the building features more than $850,000 in state-of-the-art science equipment, plus areas for many disciplines of study including molecular genetics, zoology, microscopy, and anatomy—with a cadaver lab.

The new equipment and facility have allowed the University to totally transform the lab management program, making it "safe and environmentally responsible," according to Dr. Jon Rienstra-Kiracofe, professor and chair of the Chemistry Department, who was lead faculty liaison for the Johnson Center design charrettes. These charrettes provided input to the building design from North Park University faculty, staff, students, and board members. Dr. Rienstra-Kiracofe will also teach a class in environmental chemistry utilizing some of the building-specific LEED technology.

The Johnson Center merges the concepts of student life with science, and also houses all aspects of student engagement at the University, including Residence Life and Housing, Career Development and Internships, Student Success, the International Student offices, and University Ministries.

The design provides a variety of options for collaboration and socializing, including “pods” to support student/faculty research and discussion, a balcony and student lounge overlooking the first floor entryway, Bickner Bistro with Einstein Bros Bagels, three seating areas with a fireplace, and seminar and conference rooms with catering capabilities for on-site events. There is also a dedicated Prayer Room, which features a cross and bench hand-crafted in a symbolic gesture of “transformation” using wood from a Mulberry tree that was removed prior to construction of the building.

Dedication Celebration activities are schedule for September 12 and 13, 2014, including ribbon-cutting, a community open house and a Medicine & Media Symposium featuring Dr. Johnson, ABC’s Charles Gibson, and Dr. Joseph Martin. The symposium and ribbon cutting will also be available to watch online at

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