Names of location sites for new center withheld

By Vickie Snow

NIU officials are not releasing the names of possible sites for a Rockford center because they fear the information could spur competition and send prices soaring for the sites.

Committee spokesman Tom Montiegel, NIU vice president for Development and University Relations, said “prices could become dreadfully inflated” if the sites were revealed.

The committee chose to keep them confidential to avoid competition among the seven site representatives, Montiegel said.

Committee member Lynne Waldeland, NIU assistant provost, said “it was the decision of the committee that there’s nothing to be served by announcing the list.”

The university site selection advisory committee met with the Rockford community group Thursday to discuss the reduced list of proposed sites. After receiving 16 requests last month, the choices were trimmed to seven.

Montiegel did say, however, that the sites are not concentrated in any certain area of Rockford but “located virtually in seven different parts of the metropolitan area.”

The sites include undeveloped land and existing facilities, he said.

“The university committee identified six as meeting the basic criteria. The community advisory comittee recommended adding a seventh,” Montiegel said.

The sites are checked out for safety and security, expandibility and affordability, accessibility and parking.

The next step before NIU President John La Tourette is handed a final decision is looking into each site more closely, Montiegel said.

NIU has been waiting for $500,000 from the state to conduct the search. However, Gov. James Thompson’s signature releasing the $500,000 for the project’s planning and designing has been delayed until a site is pinpointed.

Until then, NIU resources are being used, Waldeland said.