Group discusses tower recladding

By Claudia Curry

Normal—The Board of Regents’ Finance and Facilities Committee discussed plans for the Holmes Student Center tower recladding project at Wednesday’s meeting.

James Harder, vice president of business and operations said, “We recommended to the Finance and Facilities Committee that NIU should proceed with the recladding plan and continue to use the tower as it is currently being used.”

The committee dicussed project alternatives, but later agreed to have NIU continue to receive bids for tower remodeling.

Recladding construction, which was planned to begin in September 1988, has been postponed because the actual cost of construction exceeded the project’s approved budget.

In its March 1988 meeting, the Board of Regents approved a $1,995,000 budget for the student center tower remodeling.

Harder said the bid received from the architects was in the range of $3.5 million. That bid was turned down, and NIU requested the architects to make adjustments to the remodeling plan that would cut costs, he said.

“We are going to take bids again in November and will hopefully begin construction in the spring,” Harder said.

Two options discussed were “demolishing” the tower and renovating it to office space.

NIU Student Regent Nick Valadez said the alternatives were suggested by various members of the chancellor’s office and certain members of the board.

Regents Chairman Carol Burns said, “I believe we should remove the tower and add useful space. I hate to spend that much money on a space that is not ideal.”

LaTourette said he believed that the best use for the tower is it’s current use. He suggested to the committee that NIU should continue to try to improve the exterior of the tower by recladding. LaTourette said he would come back to the board with this matter as soon as he had accepted a bid.

Valadez said there would be no benefit in demolishing the tower, and renovation costs would be too extensive to remodel the space into offices. The tower was not built for the additional weight of offices, he said.

Valadez also commented that the tower, as it is used now, is very convenient for many students and organizations.

Harder said the recladding project has been delayed by about nine months. “I believe that the cost savings will be well-worth the delay.

“It is going to make the facility one that is safe and will end deterioration to both the exterior of the building and the interior as well,” he said.

Instead of using limestone panels set in place on the job, the panels will be prefabricated, Harder said.

“Other areas which will save costs will be modification to the roof design and the type of steel constructing that will be used.” he said.

Harder said if the bids that come in November are accepted and approved, then construction will begin in May 1989. LaTourette said that the amount of funding required will be more than the original estimate in May.