Irrational exuberance, institutional scale | Bleader

Irrational exuberance, institutional scale



  • Karla Kaulfuss
The Chicago Tribune recently published an update on the Spertus Institute, which is still in a dicey struggle to "reinvent" itself, five years after opening a striking new building. Working on last week's cover story about another striking new building, Roosevelt University's "vertical campus," also brought Spertus to mind—as the poster child for upgrade fever. The ten-story architectural trophy, which Spertus went deeply into debt to construct, is right next door to the serviceable ten-story building that was its longtime, wholly-owned, previous home.

We reported on trouble that erupted shortly after the new Spertus digs opened with adventurous programming, and on the sobering events that followed, including a curtailing of hours that all but shut it down. Now, according to the Tribune, Spertus still owes the $43.6 million it borrowed to build the glossy edifice, but as much as 40 percent of its public programing is taking place somewhere else.