Rendering of plans for renovating the Stevens Building at Northern Illinois University Northern Illinois University

Rendering of plans for renovating the Stevens Building at Northern Illinois University.

Northern Illinois University gets funding, but doesn't know when stalled construction project will resume

End of budget impasse provides university with $15.5 million to finish renovation of Stevens Building.

Now that Illinois finally has passed a budget, Northern Illinois University is set to receive $15.5 million to resume work on renovating the Stevens Building on the DeKalb campus.

The DeKalb Daily Chronicle reports that despite the allocation, university officials are unsure when work will resume on the stalled $27.4 million project.

The university first announced the project in 2010, and it staged a groundbreaking ceremony in 2014, but work on the building was halted in June 2015 after the state failed to pass a budget.

Last year, the state's Capital Development Board gave the university permission, but no money, to winterize the construction work that had already been done, and trustees approved spending $300,000 to do so.

The project will transform the aging facility into a modern learning and performing space for the university's Department of Anthropology and the School of Theatre and Dance.

At the time of the 2014 groundbreaking, the university said that rehabilitating the Stevens Building, which opened in 1959, had been a priority for nearly two decades. The building’s HVAC systems were on the verge of failure; plumbing and electrical systems were outdated; and portions of the roof needed replacement.

The renovation calls for a new, 6,000-square-foot lecture auditorium with tiered seating for up to 330 students, state-of-the-art teaching technology and the flexibility to be divided into three smaller rooms. The improvements also will add about 10,500 square feet to the Black Box Theatre, which will feature a 30-foot ceiling, and 13,300 square feet to the scene shop.

Workers will put on a new roof, replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and modernize the plumbing and electrical wiring.

TAGS: Legislation
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