The University of Illinois Springfield had planned to break ground this month on a 50,000-square-foot Student Union, but proposed cuts in state funding for higher education have persuaded officials to delay the project.
The State Journal-Register reports that Susan Koch, university chancellor, is hoping that the groundbreaking will be rescheduled for the fall and that the building would be completed in 2017.
The plans for the facility call for a Student Leadership Center, with spaces for student government, student life, and the Volunteer and Civic Engagement Center; multiple lounge spaces that may be used by anyone on campus; diverse dining options and a coffee venue; a ballroom/multipurpose room; and office and building function spaces.
Construction of the building is projected to cost $21.75 million. Students voted in 2012 to raise their fees to cover about $13.75 million of the cost. Collection of those fees will not start until the building has opened. Fundraising will provide the remaining $8 million needed. Koch says the university has received pledges for more than $3 million in donations
The University of Illinois Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University, is the smallest of the three UI campuses. It had an enrollment in fall 2014 of about 5,400 students.