Design fees, construction costs approved for center

By Jami Peterson

NIU’s Center for Black Studies will soon be moving its “home sweet home” sign to a new door.

Plans were approved by the Board of Regents last week to design and build a new home for the center when a multi-level parking structure invades the block.

The parking structure will take over Lot 15 located south of the Founders Memorial Library in December.

Patricia Perkins, assistant to the vice president of Finance and Planning, said an architect firm, design fees and construction costs were approved for the new building.

The new building will be about 3,200 to 3,600 square-feet and cost about $387,000. Funds will come from revenue bond refinancing.

In addition, a minority-owned construction firm has been contracted to build the new building.

“Hopefully, it (construction) will be done and the center will be moved in a year from now,” Perkins said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

Center for Black Studies Director Admasu Zike said he was pleased to learn the center would not be homeless.

“I’m very happy the (BOR) approved the budget for the building,” he said. “We will essentially be duplicating the space we have now.”

The center temporarily will be located in the Kishwaukee House when the parking garage moves in, Zike said. Therefore, he said, “We will feel some lag in our program,” he said.

Zike said he does not mind the inconvenience.

The parking garage also will force relocation of the Honors Program, The Northern Star and the Geological Survey Department.