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ISU trustees to consider robust campus renovations roster

The dining center at Watterson Towers would get a facelift if trustees approve a wide-ranging package of renovations when they meet on Friday.
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Illinois State University planners are asking the board of trustees to approve up to $39.7 million in renovations and financing for projects across the campus.

Trustees are expected to vote on the projects Friday. At least 10 separate buildings would get work done if the board approves the package:

  • $9 million – Center for Visual Arts rotunda classroom renovation
  • $3.1 million – DeGarmo Hall Plaza deck repairs
  • $5.35 million – Watterson Dining Center renovation
  • $5.95 million – Bowling and Billiards Center esports improvements
  • $1.025 million - Cardinal Court roof replacement

Money to pay for the projects would come from several sources, including fees and general revenue.
The board also is being asked to sign off on $15.3 million in certificates of participation (a form of financing) to pay for previously approved renovations and upgrades on the first floor of Milner Library, the first floor of Julian Hall, the first and third floors of Cook Hall, the ISU Weavers building, and temporary space to facilitate the Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts rehabilitation.

Trustees also will decide whether to confirm the tentative Fiscal Year 2022 budget from May, now that state lawmakers have approved appropriations for higher education institutions. That spending plan includes $556.8 million for operations.

And the board will take up a budget request for next the fiscal year (FY 2023) which, if approved, would go to the Illinois Board of Higher Education and eventually to the General Assembly. The university administration suggests ISU ask for a 14.7% increase in funding from the state, or a total of $79.86 million. The university number is likely to change as it clears each stage of consideration.

ISU’s capital project priority list totals more than $490 million. Projects stay on the list for years or decades until funding becomes available. Included are a new engineering building, a new Mennonite College of Nursing building, university lab schools building replacements, and a variety of rehab projects.

About $40.4 million of the total capital request is considered renewal money, and documents prepared for the board indicate it is the amount appropriated in the Rebuild Illinois Capital Improvement Plan.

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