Summertime repairs bring improvements to campus

By Maureen Morrissey

Students returning to NIU for the fall might be surprised at the campus improvements made during the summer months.

enovation of the Martin Luther King Memorial Commons, repair of roads surrounding the residence halls and repairing several parking lots will begin this summer.

“The commons project began June 18 and we hope to have it done by the time the snow flies,” said Patty Perkins, assistant to the vice president of Finance and Planning.

The first priority in the renovation will be the completion of the Carroll Avenue bus turnaround. “The turnaround will be done by the time school begins in the fall, so as not to cause confusion,” Perkins said.

Although the project ran into some difficulties in March, “the integrity for it has remained the same,” she said.

The architects for the renovation, Chicago-based Perkins and Will, underestimated the project’s cost by $200,000, forcing the University to cut the scope of the project, Perkins said.

To remain within the budget, the renovation of Carroll Avenue will extend to the beginning of Founders Memorial Library rather than to the library’s service drive, as originally planned, she said.

Carroll Avenue has been temporarily closed for four years, but the commons project calls for permanent closure of the street, Perkins said.

The city of DeKalb and NIU worked together when NIU decided what to do with Carroll Avenue, said DeKalb City Manager Mark Stevens. When planning the closing of the street, “the only worry was to make sure there was access to the wires under the street,” he said.

Contel, Commonwealth Edison and Warner Cable have wiring under the street, as well as other companies, Stevens said.

Another project on campus is the repair of Lucinda Avenue from Annie Glidden Road to Stadium Drive East.

“We are replacing the whole base of the road,” said NIU Project Manager Conrad Miller. The road is scheduled to be completed before Aug. 25, he said.

“That part of Lucinda is the most important road on campus, it is the throat to the west part of campus,” Miller said.

Bids for the street repair came in at $121,000, $29,000 under the Board of Regents $150,000 allocation, he said.

Also scheduled for repairs this summer are Stadium Drive West, Stevenson Drives North and South and Grant Drives North and South.

In addition, several parking lots around campus, including the Chick Evans Field House lot, will be repaired and repaved over the next six months, Miller said.