Decade long plans for new science building begins with $118M state funds

Cam'ron Hardy, Campus Events Junior Editor

There was an article from 2009 from the News that first established a new science building planned to be built, but there was not enough money in the budget to fund it until the 2020 State Capital Appropriation.

A science building has been set to be built on the corner of 9th St and Roosevelt Dr., south of the Tarble Arts Center.  

The building is set to house Eastern’s chemistry and biology departments.  

Matt Bierman, the vice president of business affairs at Eastern, gave an update on how things are going with the building.  

“The facility has not yet been built,” Bierman said. “The project was approved as a part of the 2020 State Capital Appropriation cycle.” 

Bierman also said that an architect has been hired to complete a programming design to set a date for when the project should be done, the architect is going to determine the measurements of the facility and create conceptual drawings. 

“The next step is to begin actual design of the facility,” Bierman said.  

Bierman also gave information on the cost of the project. 

“EIU has been appropriated $118,836,500 for this project by the Illinois Capital Development Board, a state agency that oversees capital building and improvement projects that are funded through state appropriations,” Bierman said. “That amount includes all design, construction, furnishings and building commissioning expenses. We will be expected to stay within this budgeted amount.”

There have been multiple setbacks that have occurred. Bierman goes in depth as to what the issues are. 

“The project has been delayed a little because of staffing and availability during the last few years at the Capital Development Board due to the COVID pandemic,” Bierman said. “The project has begun to move forward in recent months. Additionally, we are waiting on the state to release the funds for future phases of design and construction. We will continue to advocate for full funding of this project as soon as those funds are available.” 

Although the project has not started and there is no construction date, Bierman said members that are a part of the project expect it to take approximately two years for it to be completed, once started.

“This project has been a part of the campus strategic and master planning for over two decades,” Bierman said. “Specifically, it has been part of our capital request to the Illinois Board of Higher Education for many years. I would describe this as a university initiative.”

Compared to other buildings, the building will have new improvements including following the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, building standards.

“The building will be constructed with current technologies that support EIU’s academic experience, including the building’s mechanical and operational systems,” Bierman said. “It also is being designed as a LEED-certified building, which means it meets LEED standards for efficiency, cost effectiveness, and environmental sustainability. The classrooms and labs will provide state-of-the-art teaching and learning environments that will enhance EIU’s commitments to student success and experiential learning.”

 

Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]