Land bought for future expansion

By Fred Heuschel

NIU officials will spend more than $500,000 to buy more land so future recreation does not suffer.

Eddie Williams , NIU Vice-President for Finance and Planning, said the 44.17-acre site, in the western part of campus next to the football field, might be used to replace recreational areas set aside for the construction of the DeKalb County civic center.

“The property, at this point, is going to be for future expansion, which might incoporate recreational areas or parking lots,” Williams said.

He said the site currently chosen as the home of the new arena would take take up large areas of existing recreational space near the football stadium.

The subject of the estimated $16 million civic center is a “ticklish topic,” at this time because NIU has not yet had it’s appropriation for the center approved by the state legislature yet, Williams said.

If approved, the state will fund 75 percent of the project, and the rest of the money will be raised locally.

However, he said NIU can still use the Williams farm land even if the civic center is not built.

“We have ID’d numerous parking needs so a parking lot could be built on the site,” Williams said.

He said a combination of several things also could be scheduled for the site.

NIU Student Regent Bob Tisch said the price of land is “out of sight” in neigboring counties such as DuPage which are growing quickly.

“Dekalb county has been targeted as a growth county, so if NIU develops now, the land might cost less than in 10 or 15 years,” Tisch said.

Williams said the land was bought with local funds generated from bond revenues.