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ISU Trustees To Consider Nearly $18 Million In Spending

Tall college dorms
Watterson Towers residence halls would get new furniture and new air intake systems on the roof under proposals headed to Trustees Friday.

Illinois State University trustees will take up proposals Friday to spend nearly $18 million in the next several years on a variety of projects and leases. Included are:

  • $4.1 million to resurface the Bone Student Center visitor parking lot, replace lighting, add a sustainable water retention feature, install a new parking ticketing system, and build pedestrian walkway and entry to the BSC. Staff said the work is critical because existing cracks are allowing water to seep below the surface and further deteriorate the pavement.
  • $676,000 per year to lease office space on the first and second floors of College Place in Uptown Normal owned by MCP Uptown Partners LLC. That would cost the university $1.575 million over the next few years but would likely be extended for a decade with annual adjustments for inflation.
  • $4.2 million to keep fresh air flowing into the 2,200-student Watterson Towers residence halls. ISU would replace the penthouse air handling and intake systems. Staff said the existing units have lasted longer than they were supposed to and are increasingly expensive to maintain.
  • $1.6 million to replace aging furniture at Watterson Towers.
  • $875,000 to pay a consulting firm to further develop a proposal for a new engineering degree program. ISU began studying the issue a couple years ago and President Larry Dietz has said there appears to be a market niche to address a shortage of engineers in the labor market.
  • $5.5 million for a Multicultural Center. This has been a goal of Dietz. Dietz told WGLT Monday he hopes to begin construction in the fall in the old Center for Teaching and Learning Technology (CTLFT) space on Main Street in Normal. The center will have student organization office space, meeting spaces, performance and practice spaces, a kitchen, gathering rooms, and rooms for other purposes.

Trustees will take up a potential performance bonus for Dietz.
The board will consider authorizing a new bachelor’s degree in computer systems technology. Briefing papers for the board indicate the major offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that provides a background in computer technology, software, programming, information imaging, and other industry-related technologies. The goal is to prepare professionals for the management and supervision of technical computer systems in industrial settings.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.