Alumni Center almost finished; grand opening Homecoming

By Tara snowden

Soon roadways will be cleared, dust will fade away and drilling sounds will diminish as the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center nears completion.

The $6.2 million, 37,000 square-foot building is being finished on the southwest corner of Annie Glidden Road and Stadium Drive.

The project is scheduled to open Oct. 15 during Homecoming celebrations, according to an October 2003 news release.

The grand opening activities will consist of a short program, music, numerous giveaways from alumni and a way for faculty, staff, alumni and friends to see the new home for NIU alumni, said Joseph Matty, director of the project.

Matty, who will be responsible for marketing, programming and maintaining the facility, said it will be a way to highlight alumni achievements and develop a sense of pride for NIU.

The center began construction early last fall and plans a ground-breaking ceremony for Oct. 16.

A 1,200 square-foot, single-family home that was converted into offices had to be demolished before construction could begin.

The center will feature a state-of-the-art brick, stone, glass and steel building consisting of a faculty library, meeting and conference facilities and offices for the NIU Alumni Association and the NIU Student Alumni Association. Also in the new facility will be the Great Hall, which will display numerous plaques and exhibits highlighting NIU’s history and alumni accomplishments.

Alumni have made donations throughout the project. This includes key donations from Dennis and Stacy Barsema and John and Nancy Castle.

Alumni can make contributions of $100 or more by purchasing bricks, benches and trees.

Those interested in making a contribution should visit the center’s Web site at