Commons near finish

By Greg Rivara

Frosty the Snowman could signal a new beginning for NIU’s free-speech users and music buffs.

The King Memorial Commons renovation—including a free speech area equiped with microphone hookups and areas for musical concerts—will be finished “by the time the snow flies,” said Patricia Perkins, assistant to the vice president of Finance and Planning.

Perkins couldn’t be more specific about a completion date because construction delays are always a possibility. But even with one of the wettest springs in recent memory, construction is on schedule, she said.

Pouring concrete, landscaping work and erecting informational signs need to be done. When completed, the free-speech area will be circled in red brick. Diagonal walkways and an inclined grass slope will provide a place to watch speakers and concerts.

To get to that point, the only thing Alliance Contracting needs is good weather.

Alliance of Woodstock is the main contractor and has hired two subcontractors for the electrical and plumbing work, Perkins said.

“It’s difficult to move soil when it is wet and has turned to mud. It also is not advisable to pour concrete when it rains,” she said, explaining the fenced-in area between the Holmes Student Center and Founders Memorial Library.

The renovations are expected to cost $740,000 and includes work at the Huskie Bus Line turnaround on the west side of the student center as well as additional parking near the turnaround.