NIU given approval to purchase new vehicles

By Matt Michalek

Last Thursday the Board of Regents approved the purchase of 22 new 1992 Dodge Spirit sedans for NIU.

In addition to the sedans, NIU will also purchase five new pickup trucks, a mini-van, three passenger vans and a cargo van.

James Harder, vice president for Business and Operations, said the purchases were part of a yearly vehicle replacement program.

“We solicit bids once a year to replace vehicles that have reached the end of a useful life,” Harder said.

Bill Finucane, manager of the NIU transportation department, said they determine when a vehicle is ready to be replaced by looking at overall mileage and repair costs.

“We aim for an average of four years old and 75,000 plus miles,” he said, adding that two of the vehicles being replaced this year have over 100,000 miles.

The university sent out bids to 58 car dealers with thirteen of them responding. The bids ranged from $264,015 to $172,572, with the lowest being approved.

The lowest bid for the 22 sedans was from Rochelle Dodge in Rochelle.

Leo Gildea, the salesman in charge of the account, said there was no real secret why Rochelle Dodge had the lowest bid. “I guess we wanted it more than anyone else.”

NIU is purchasing the basic models that include automatic transmission, air conditioning and rear defroster. The list price for a single car is $13,742, he said.

Once the purchase order is made, it might take six weeks or longer to receive the vehicles, Harder said.

When the new vehicles are received, they will be put into the NIU vehicle pool, he said.

“We put the best vehicles in the pool to preclude mechanical failure while they are on the road,” Harder said.

Each year we replace some of the vehicles in the NIU fleet, Finucane said. “Last year we focused on replacing trucks, and this year we focused on sedans.

“We expect to replace some vehicles next year, depending on needs, but it is too early to tell exactly how many and what type,” he said.