Project status presented

By Joe Bush

The current status of the Faraday II building project was presented Wednesday to the Finance and Facilities Committee of the Board of Regents during the first of two days of meetings at NIU.

James Baird, from Holabird and Root, the project’s architects, engineers and planners, said open bids for building contractors will go out in March 1990. He said to this point the project is within budget.

Currently the project is subject to its second review by the Capital Development Board, Baird said. The board reviews project developments funded with government money at four stages of a project: after design programming; at the 50-percent completed point; after 75 percent is complete and after total completion. Each review takes about a month, Baird said.

oy Solfisburg, a partner at the firm, said between now and March blueprints will be drawn up for the more than 100,000 gross square foot building that will accommodate more sophisticated chemistry and physics equipment.

Though the building will relieve the space burdens that the sciences have in common with many other programs, the quality of space is important as well, said Ernest Wagner Jr., director of medical facilities planning for Holabird and Root.

Wagner said the space needed to be “mechanically sophisticated” to attract researchers and initiate a Ph.D program. Currently, researchers are splitting time with Fermilab in Batavia, Ill. to conduct research. Special designs were needed because, compared to 15 years ago, today’s equipment uses more electricity.

The architects expect plenty of bids, the majority of which should come from the Chicago area. They described the construction climate in the area as healthy, meaning no one is very busy. The more bids offered, the lower the final bid, the architects said.

“The worst thing that could happen is if everybody gets real busy,” Solfisburg said.

Construction on the proposed $18.3 million structure should begin in late spring or early summer, said the architects. The tentative date for completion is Fall 1992.

The building will face Normal Road, will include two 250-seat auditoriums and will connect with the present Faraday building. Handicap access, which is limited to a side entrance in the present building, will be available as a main entrance for both buildings.