College outgrows home

By Paul Kirk

Computer boxes and dismantled mechanical experiments line the hallway walls of the NIU engineering building in Sycamore awaiting a home on the crowded, overpopulated campus of NIU.

“There just isn’t enough room anymore in this building,” Romualdas Kasuba, dean of the College of Engineering said.

“We definitely need the new building,” he said.

The building he referred to is the proposed construction of an engineering building on the NIU campus.

Construction funds for the project were frozen during this year’s state-wide budget freeze and still remain solidly entwined in red tape, Kasuba said.

The proposed construction would be built on the existing tennis courts in back of Anderson Hall, and would apparently be about the area of Anderson.

“It is the perfect spot. The courts need to be replaced, and we need a new building,” Kasuba said.

Additional parking areas also were in the plans for the project, he said.

“Students are crammed into classrooms in our existing building. It’s a bad learning environment,” he said.

Much of the equipment laying in the building’s hallways is being transferred to other buildings on campus, such as Still Gym, awaiting a place in the new engineering building.

Kasuba said NIU’s engineering program, created in 1985, has grown to be competitive with other high quality engineering programs in the nation.

“We worry about quality not quantity. We want students to learn here,” Kasuba said.

NIU engineering classes are taught mostly by highly-skilled professors who have come directly out of the business world. Kasuba said this is unique. Most other engineering schools in the state such as at Urbana-Champaign depend primarily on teaching assistants to run the courses.

“The new building will give us the ability to concentrate our program into one area on campus. This will help our undergraduate program to flourish,” Kasuba said.