NIU to sell unused Art Annex building, relocate functions

By Brandon Soto

DeKALB — NIU will sell the Art Annex building, located behind 2211 Sycamore Road, pending a buyer.

NIU is planning to sell real estate holdings the administration has deemed surplus. This is decided according to guidelines set by the State Property Control Act. The Board of Trustees will use the money for maintenance of the university.

The Art Annex was a warehouse used as a creative space for students from the College of Visual and Performing Arts and is no longer in use, according to a Sept. 25 Northern Star article.

At the Sept. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, NIU President Lisa Freeman said the university has been relocating the Annex’s functions to available spaces due to the building’s poor condition. John Heckmann, associate vice president for Facilities Management and Campus Services, has said the university plans to move the functions of the building to Grant South.

Rich Dyer, assessor for DeKalb township, said the building was purchased by NIU June 4, 1996 for $790,000 from a trust through National Bank and Trust. At that point, the building was 31 years old and was functioning as a warehouse and office, Dyer said.

Since the days of its use by the university, the building has fallen into disrepair. The air conditioning fans are filled with leaves, and Heckmann said the building is dilapidated.

Heckmann said the building has various “looming repair bills” and substandard cooling, heating and ventilation systems.

The property is of “limited benefit” to the School of Visual and Performing Arts due to its remoteness to the school, according to the Board of Trustees meeting report. The university has talked about moving the art studio to Grant South Tower and making it available when Grant reopens, according to the report.

The board voted to begin the process of selling the the building and its market value will be appraised.