Campus Connection.

November 4, 2005 Vol. 21 No. 6

Western Construction Projects Approved By IBHE

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) authorized Western Illinois University to proceed with the construction of a multicultural center for the campus, improvements to the student (east) side of Hanson Field and building a facility for document production and storage.

Western’s Board of Trustees previously authorized University officials to proceed with issuance of certificates of participation at a cost not to exceed $11 million and an interest rate of borrowing not to exceed 5.75 percent to finance the projects. Final approval from the IBHE was required before action could be taken by the University.
Construction of an estimated $4 million multicultural center is to be funded through the student facilities enhancement and life safety fee. The $7 per credit hour fee was established for incoming students, effective Fall 2005. Facilities enhancement and life safety fee resources will also be used to fund state-mandated sprinkler installation in residence halls, safety features and other student support service facilities.

The new multicultural center is intended to provide a single location with unique space for African-American, Hispanic, international and other underrepresented students to meet and share common space. The center will replace the demolished Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center on West Adams Street and the Casa Latina Cultural Center, and provide additional space for international students and the Women’s Center. Brooks Cultural Center operations are currently housed in the University Services Building. Casa Latina is on West Murray Street across from the University Union and the Women’s Center is located in Seal Hall.

“We will work with the University master plan committee and campus constituencies to  determine the future location of the multicultural center,” said President Al Goldfarb. “We hope to move the project forward for a Fall 2007 opening.”

An estimated $5 million is needed for construction on the student side of the stadium, ADA compliant restrooms and concession stands at Hanson Field. The project includes the demolition of existing bleachers on the east side student section of the field. The renovation will increase safety and comfort for students and guests attending football games and other outdoor events utilizing the stadium. Work on the stadium is anticipated to start in Spring 2006.

Construction of a pre-engineered metal building on a concrete slab for Document and Publication Services (DPS) and Property Storage Center is estimated to cost $1.4 million. The dual purpose building will accommodate DPS, including copy centers and mail services, in addition to serving as a storage and distribution facility. Currently DPS facilities are in several academic buildings and the University Union. The new central facility will provide additional space for academic use in areas vacated by existing DPS operations in academic buildings and will centralize DPS functions. Design and construction are expected to take 16 to 20 months.

Funds for the proposed multicultural center and Hanson Field renovation are from nonappropriated sources. Less than $50,000 of funding for the production and storage facility is from appropriated resources, while the remainder is from generated income.

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