BHE recommends funds for NIU

Mike Solley

Funds totaling $21.3 million for NIU building and remodeling were recommended by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to be included as part of the fiscal 1988 state budget.

The IBHE is submitting recommendations for the funding of higher education to Gov. James Thompson and the Illinois General Assembly based on a priority system, said Ross Hodel, IBHE deputy director of fiscal affairs. Hodel said recommendations are based on the amount and nature of the requests received from the different institutions and on the amount of funds available for higher education.

A major priority now is the “updating of aging facilities and meeting the need for shifting enrollment,” Hodel said. One reason NIU was granted funds was because of projects such as the construction of a new engineering building and the remodeling of Adams Hall to accommodate the handicapped, he said.

Funds for NIU projects come from the Regular Capital Projects and the Build Illinois program. From Regular Capital funds, $19.9 million has been recommended for the planning of a new engineering building, the construction of an addition to Faraday Hall and the replacement of steam lines in Anderson, Gilbert and Wirtz halls, as well as in the Visual Arts and Music buildings.

Of these, the most costly is the Faraday addition, called Faraday II, which will cost almost $17.3 million. The project will involve new space for classrooms, instructional and research laboratories and office space for the chemistry and physics departments.

Projects costing $1.4 million have been recommended for funding through the Build Illinois program. These include remodeling for Adams, Altgeld, Gabel and Reavis halls and the Heating Plant. The IBHE also recommended funding for the site improvement of the Martin Luther King Commons, which involves new shrubbery and trees and alterations to the drainage, walkway and watering systems.

equests for $4.9 million for 10 additional projects were not recommended for funding.

ep. John Countryman, R-DeKalb, said funds for higher education have been increasing during the past three years. These increases have amounted to about 15 percent, he said.

Although the section of the governor’s upcoming budget dealing with higher education may differ, the IBHE submits recommendations now so the governor can see what is needed, Hodel said.

“We hope to allow Gov. Thompson the opportunity to review them (the recommendations) and incorporate as many as possible,” he said.

odel also said the governor usually follows most high priority recommendations and co-recommends they be funded. “There has always been excellent cooperation from the governor and the general assembly in funding higher education projects,” he said.