Mid-Point Milestone: Obama Presidential Center is Rising

Construction on the new Obama Presidential Center (OPC) continues. The campus featuring a world-class museum, public library, and an outdoor plaza for community gatherings is changing the landscape of Chicago’s south side.

It’s hard to believe two years have passed. In September of 2021, Powers & Sons joined the Lakeside Alliance team, former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, City of Chicago officials, and community and Obama Foundation leaders to break ground on the landmark project. Fast-forward to September of 2023 and the campus is rising.

This September 2023 Obama Foundation photo shows progress on the Museum Building, which is located on the southwest corner of the campus.

PROJECT UPDATE: Mid-Point Milestones

We are proud to report that Team OPC has reached the half-way point in construction. As of today, about 50% of the workforce are City of Chicago residents. Excellent progress has been and continues to be made.

  • Cornell Drive was closed this summer to make way for an eventual connection between the campus and Jackson Park lagoons. The entire east side of the campus is designed to create bird and wildlife habitats. It will feature new walking and bike paths that follow the water’s edge.
  • Rising along South Stony Island are stairwells and elevator shafts for the Museum Building standing over 100 feet tall. The building’s concrete walls and floors are following closely behind. The Museum Plaza Deck has been placed. Granite and glass that will clad part of the exterior are being readied for installation.
  • MEP systems across the campus continue to be installed.
  • Roofs have been framed for the Library Building and the Forum. Crews have begun pouring concrete. Here’s a link to a time-lapsed video of the Forum’s building concrete pour with some interesting facts and statistics about this key project milestone.
  • Work on the parking garage also continues.

COMMUNITY IMPACT: Intentional & Lasting

Engaging local residents as well as members of the construction community has been a focus since the Lakeside Alliance was formed.

This snapshot is taken from the Lakeside Alliance 2022 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report posted online at https://www.lakesidealliance.com/2022-diversity-equity-inclusion-report.

One area in which we have had success is providing and promoting the availability of resources for subcontractors, suppliers, and others who want to help build the OPC. The Lakeside Alliance hosts virtual and in-person information sessions and workshops targeting local small business owners.

In addition, the Lakeside Alliance actively promotes area trade apprenticeship and training programs. The team also hosts free, hands-on workshops for local youth interested in construction careers.

The Lakeside Alliance is also committed to facilitating and fostering an inclusive construction environment in Chicago that is sustainable and thriving well beyond the construction period. Scheduled to open in late 2025, the Obama Presidential Center will inspire, empower, and connect people around the world.

Powers & Sons continues to learn something new from this amazing experience every day. We are honored to help bring the project to life in a way that will make a positive impact in the community for years to come!