University Council talks Stevens Hall

By Leah Spagnoli

University Council discussed plans for renovations of Cole Hall and  Stevens Hall building Wednesday afternoon.

Planning has been appropriated for Stevens Hall and Cole Hall, said Laurie Elish-Piper, professor of literary education at Wednesday’s University Council meeting.

NIU received money from a capital budget for the Stevens Hall planning process. The actual money for building will come from state-issued bonds.

“The project has been appropriated, meaning that the money is not yet there; we need to find a source for funding,” said Ray Alden, executive vice president and provost. “We have been given $2 million for planning, for architects and such. Hopefully, the state will find a source of funding to carry the project out.”

The Board of Trustees can issue bonds for non-instructional facilities, such as the residence halls. As for buildings like Stevens Hall and Cole Hall, the state has to provide money just as it would for highways, prison improvements and other state projects. These buildings fall on that list.

“One distinction is that for the non-instructional, we have to provide the revenue source to pay back the bonds,” said Eddie Williams, executive vice president and chief of operations. “In the other case, the state will pay for it.”

Earl Hansen, associate professor of engineering technology,reported on the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Faculty Advisory Council.

“For the former, it was stated that over time and excluding pensions, there has been $440 million reduction in state support for higher education,” Hansen said. In addition, over 100,000 eligible applicants do not have MAP support and the state has $4.7 billion in unpaid bills.”

It was concluded that IBHE will push these bills until after Jan. 1 of next year.

Hansen also said that Don Sevener is the new executive director of the IBHE.