Board reviews contract bids

By Stephanie Bradley

SPRINGFIELD—Contract bids for the repair of the Holmes Student Center tower will go to the Board of Regents for approval at today’s Regents meeting.

NIU President John LaTourette said Wednesday that if the bids are approved today, reconstruction of the tower could begin in mid May and be completed by December. Weather conditions and shipments of building materials remain factors in the completion of the renovation.

The new contract bids came in at about $2.4 million, $200,000 lower than what was budgeted for the project, said James Harder, vice president for business and operations at NIU.

When the original bids came in they were “grossly over” the amount NIU had budgeted for the project. Contractors were asked to restudy the project and develop plans which would more closely approximate NIU’s budget, Harder said.

The new bids were received around Dec. 15, 1988. The design for the tower and an architect had been selected in the spring of 1988, Harder said. The architectural firm of Ware and Associates of Rockford has been selected for the project, he said.

LaTourette said the facing for the building will be done in Indiana limestone, which resembles the four inset columns that currently run down each side of the tower.

The limestone will be pre-cut in large sections and hand placed on the side of the building, rather than installing large sheets of stone, he said.

Another repair which should last for “100 years” is the copper roof, LaTourette said. Instead of using copper-coated metal, which would have to be repaired more often, the entire roof will be made with copper.

A challenge the architects face is to make the lighting on the top of the tower esthetically pleasing, as well as being suitable to Federal Aviation Administration standards, LaTourette said.

The lighting must meet FAA standards for air traffic safety, he said. “We”re working on a lighting solution which does not require lighting towers on top of the roof,” LaTourette said.

Further renovations include removing the balconies from the 16th floor, and replacing single paned windows with double panes, LaTourette said. These will allow for more efficient heating and cooling and might also be tinted to further enhance efficiency, he said.

The windows will be opened from the inside with a key so maintanence employees can wash them from the inside to reduce maintanence, he said.

Today the Board also plans to vote on an academic promotion increment schedule awarding pay increases to faculty members promoted to assistant and full professor positions.