The 630 | October 2017

October 2017 View more

Carillon alarm bells ring
The decline of a city icon and its financial challenges

In addition to the Nichols Library controversy we reported on in our last issue, the city has another construction issue to solve: Moser Tower & Visitor Center. The structure that houses the Millennium Carillon has been an iconic landmark of the city since 2000. According to the park district website, the project was originally financed by a $1 million donation from Harold and Margaret Moser and a $1.5 million line of credit from the city, along with other private donors. The Visitor Center was opened in 2007 after a $3.3 million grant from Naperville’s Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) Fund.

Now seventeen years later weather has damaged the structure to the point that repairs could cost between $1.6 and $3.8 million. The sixteen-story tower—which is taller than the Statue of Liberty—is beginning to crack and corrode. A structural assessment was completed in 2015 and an Experts Summit was held this past August. But residents are concerned that ongoing maintenance will be a never-ending tax burden.

Readers who responded to an unofficial survey by the magazine on social media were split. Negative comments included “Get rid of that thing,” “Sue the construction company” and “Tear it down!” Others wrote, “It is beautiful and makes our city unique,” and “Art and all the instruments of art should be valued and preserved—for mind and soul.”

There is no doubt that the tower has become an iconic landmark of the city and its famed Riverwalk, but the economic challenges to maintain it are great. The structure’s four pillars represent Naperville’s core values: family, education, community and commerce. We’ll see which of two of these values—community or commerce—will dictate decisions moving forward.


Homecoming Hero
North Central College dedicates science center

North Central College’s state-of-the-art science facility will be dedicated as the Dr. Myron Wentz Science Center on Friday, October 20, during the college’s Homecoming celebration. Members of the community are invited to attend the ceremony at 4:00 p.m. followed by a reception and tours of the facility. The dedication ceremony will take place at the southwest corner of the science center at 131 South Loomis Street.

Among points of interest will be the Golden Ratio wall in the two-story atrium, showcasing 2,360 images that capture the college’s history since its 1861 founding. Also featured in the new 125,000-square-foot building are eighteen teaching labs; sixteen research labs; a greenhouse, nineteen student gathering spaces; fifty-three faculty offices; classrooms and lecture halls and Ratio Hall, a space for academic and community functions. It’s home for all the sciences, as well as mathematics, psychology, computer science, occupational therapy and pre-health programs. 

The $60 million center was fully operational at the start of the fall 2017 term after faculty offices and biology, chemistry and physics laboratories were moved from the former science building. In June, a gift by 1963 alumnus Dr. Myron Wentz resulted in naming the facility in his honor.

In a news release President Troy D. Hammond says, “This is an historic moment in the life of North Central College. I’m grateful for Dr. Wentz’s leadership in making the lead naming gift for Chicagoland’s premier, all-inclusive science center.”

After studying biology at North Central, Wentz earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology and became a world-renowned scientist who founded USANA Health Sciences and the Sanoviv Medical Institute. He was awarded the 2007 Albert Einstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Life Sciences and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Children’s Hunger Fund for his philanthropic and humanitarian efforts.