CHICAGO -- The Roosevelt University campus in downtown Chicago will be home to a rec center in the sky when a new 32-story building, being dubbed a “vertical campus,” opens in early 2012.

The 469-foot-tall structure will be the second-tallest university building in the country, according to Roosevelt officials. Located in the 400 block of South Wabash Avenue, the $110 million building will house a rec center, classrooms, laboratories, a dining hall and a residence hall for more than 600 students.

The extra space is needed to support a projected student increase of 50 percent between 2007 and 2017, officials say. The high-rise will be paid for by the sale of $180 million in bonds. A decrease in real estate prices prompted by the down economy, plus city support for the new building, made this an optimal time to build the facility, officials say.

The new building will incorporate the facade of the former Roosevelt Fine Arts Annex, created in 1924 by architect Andrew Rebori, which will become the university bookstore entrance at the north end of the facility. Project architects expect to seek LEED certification for green building features, such as water efficiency and energy usage.