Details still undetermined

By Steve Brown

The plans, drawings and costs have been set, but the details of NIU’s Academic and Athletic Performance Center have not.

The $9.5 million cost of the facility does not include maintenance costs.

“This is a campaign to build the building,” said Eddie Williams, NIU Vice President and Chief of Operations and Finance. “That covers all the construction work and the materials used to build the building.”

Since the building is still in its conceptual phase, maintenance costs and extra equipment can only be estimated, but are not included in the $9.5 million projected cost of the building.

“We don’t have it laid out to that detail yet,” NIU athletics director Jim Phillips said.

Phillips was unavailable for further comment.

Physical Plant assistant director Mike Saari projected costs of electric, sewage and heating the 60,000-square-foot building at $100,000 a year, but no exact figures have been budgeted.

“That’s a ballpark figure based on operational costs of buildings with similar square footage,” Saari said. “We don’t have design documents, and that pretty much drives what the maintenance costs could be.”

The facility plans were announced at a press conference April 23 before the annual intra-squad spring football game. Of the $7 million donation goal, $5.1 million had been provided by leadership donors.

Administrators called upon the rest of the “NIU family” to raise the remaining $1.9 million needed to break ground on the project.

After $7 million has been raised, the remaining $2.5 million of the projected costs will be covered by ticket venues, NIU president John Peters said at the press conference.

Since the $5.1 million was raised primarily by NIU football coach Joe Novak through private donors involved with athletics, Peters did not feel that donations would take away from other university funding.

“There’s some crossover between people that will give to academics and athletics, but usually individuals who give to athletics give for a specific reason,” Peters said. “Former athletes like Justin McCareins want to make the lives of student-athletes better, because they can relate.”

One example is Ryan Diem, an offensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts and former NIU football player, whose donation was targeted specifically for an offensive line meeting room.

Williams said that basic “minimal” equipment was included in the $9.5 million construction cost, but more equipment would need to be purchased using funds from the athletics department upon completion of the building.

“We’ll be looking at athletic revenue and other sources of funds that come to them,” Williams said. “I’ve made them aware that there will be extra costs that they’ll have to take over.”