Delays might affect office relocations

By Rob Heselbarth

Delays in remodeling a newly-acquired building are threatening to stop the music in NIU’s musical chair game of relocation.

NIU officials said there have been delays in renovation of the old Floor-to-Ceiling Store building, 1515 W. Lincoln Hwy. The delays could disrupt the scheduled December move of several NIU offices which are being displaced because of construction of the $7.95 million Campus Life Building (CLB).

NIU’s Human Resource Services (HRS) department was scheduled to move from its current location in Altgeld Hall to the Floor-to-Ceiling building sometime in December, said Beth Schrader, NIU construction project manager.

“The offices of payroll, insurance, personnel and provost personnel are now combined into one department called Human Resource Services,” Schrader said.

The Northern Star and other NIU organizations affected by the construction of an $8.9 million parking garage and the CLB were slated to move into the space vacated by HRS in Altgeld.

NIU and construction officials gave different reasons for the delay, however.

Tom Rosenow, real estate developer of DeKalb’s American Development, said the inclusion of an extra department to the Floor-to-Ceiling building caused the delay.

“Over a one year period we worked with the programs going into the building, which are NIU Human Resource Services,” he said. “Later in the planning, NIU Printing Services came in and the program size grew.”

Rosenow said the original budget was about $800,000, but increased to $955,000 when NIU Printing Services joined the program.

“We had to change the plans, which delayed the project because the bidding process takes around 90 days,” he said.

Schrader did not list the addition of NIU Printing Services as a reason for the delay and required permission from Eddie Williams, NIU vice president of Finance and Planning, before she would speak to the Star.

Schrader said part of the reason for the delay were some utility extensions in the Floor-to-Ceiling building.

“The whole plan needed so much preparation time,” she said. “We needed to wait until the process of combining Human Resource Services was completed, too.”

Despite the problems, Rosenow said he does not think the parking garage and CLB projects will be delayed. The parking garage will be constructed first because the CLB will be erected on what is now NIU visitor parking.

“I don’t believe the Campus Life Building project will be seriously affected,” he said. “The Floor-to-Ceiling renovation may not be 100 percent complete, but it will be ready for occupancy in December.”

Rosenow said there is an outside chance the project will be completed by Christmas, but a more realistic final date is Feb. 1.

“Electrical gear still has to be ordered which takes approximately six weeks,” he said. “We are at the mercy of some suppliers.”

Schrader said NIU is still in the time frame for the CLB. The time frame is tighter now, but still feasible, she said.

“We expect to be done in January,” she said. “The equipment will be moved in this December and after that we will move people in as fast as we can.”

Schrader said the north half of the building will be occupied by NIU Printing Services, and the south half of the building will be occupied by HRS.