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Local

Additional funding approved for NIU construction projects

NIU Board approves $1.35M in additional funding for plan

Dennis Barsema, chairman of Northern Illinois University's Board of Trustees, asks Vice President Sarah McGill (not pictured) about summer camps being affected by construction on Stevenson Building during the trustee meeting Thursday in Altgeld Hall.
Dennis Barsema, chairman of Northern Illinois University's Board of Trustees, asks Vice President Sarah McGill (not pictured) about summer camps being affected by construction on Stevenson Building during the trustee meeting Thursday in Altgeld Hall.

DeKALB – The upgrade of food options at Northern Illinois University is moving forward after trustees Thursday approved an additional $1.35 million for the overhaul.

During a special meeting, the board approved motions to amend the funding for Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave., along with renovations to the dining area in Stevenson Complex on campus.

The student center project was initially approved by the board in June 2016 with a $60 million budget, according to board documents.

“The university is now requesting additional funding to move forward with essential components of this project, including the renovations required for a food venue build-out and maintenance of the budgeted contingency reserves,” NIU President Lisa Freeman read from the agenda packet during the meeting in Altgeld Hall.

As part of the student center redevelopment, Starbucks also will be coming to the building, a piece of a detailed vision by the university to improve overall dining experiences for the campus community.

The additional funding for the food build-out was approved at $450,000, with an equal amount to increase the project construction contingency, resulting in a total of $900,000. The board also unanimously approved an additional $450,000 for a dining area capital project in Stevenson to improve existing dining options. The $1.35 million will come from NIU’s auxiliary reserves, according to board documents.

The project at Stevenson will convert Dog Pound Deli, the building’s current dining option, into a grill station, pizza station, convenience store and a nationally franchised sandwich shop.

Work is expected to begin on the renovations in the spring, but will not interrupt summer camp operations, NIU Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Sarah McGill said.

“We will have made alternate arrangements, so it will not be a big impact,” McGill said, addressing board Chairman Dennis Barsema’s concern that NIU’s summer camps would suffer because of prolonged construction.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, Eric Wasowicz was named vice chairman of the board through fiscal 2019. Wasowicz is a partner at Greenbrier Group LLC.

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