(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is investing more than $63 million in 13 key projects over the next year and a half, which are aimed at easing the University's growth and expansion while at the same time boosting economic development in the region.
"This investment in campus infrastructure paves the way for continued growth and expansion, while underscoring SIUE's commitment to deliver a quality learning environment for students, staff and the community," said Jim Pennekamp, director of University Park and special assistant to the Chancellor for economic development. "With more than 2,400 employees and an annual economic impact of $356 million, SIUE is a major player in the region's economy. Ongoing infrastructure investment translates into more business and more jobs for the region."
The cycle of development will come to an end in May 2009 with the completion of two major projects: The expansion of the Student Fitness Center at $10.5 million and the completion of the Student Success Center at $16.6 million.
The Fitness Center expansion will include the addition of two multi-purpose rooms for group exercise and student activities, an office addition and renovations to the building so that employees can be grouped in the same space, a 30,500-square-foot gymnasium for courts, and a food and juice bar.
The Success Center will consolidate many student services and resources. The goal of the consolidation effort is to improve student recruitment, retention and graduation rates.
Leading up to May 2009, projects will begin this March with the completion of two projects: The Cougar Village roof replacement project for the 400 and 500 apartment buildings, with a construction value of $970,000, and the Korte Stadium Renovation project, with a projected budget of nearly $1.5 million.
"The project will provide for repairs and renovations to Korte Stadium in order to prevent future water leaks, repair the damage that has been caused by past leaks and resolve structural and maintainability issues," said Rich Walker, assistant vice chancellor for administration.
In May the completion of $461,000 in renovations at the Environmental Resource Training Center (ERTC) is expected, while June will bring the completion of a Secondary Computing Center with an estimated construction budget of $800,000. The ERTC renovations will include re-designing the electrical, structural, and computer systems that support the water treatment training facilities. The Secondary Computing Center will provide back-up storage facilities for the main computing center on the Edwardsville campus.
A capital project in the amount of $1.2 million was approved for a dispensing and sterilization renovation at the SIU School of Dental Medicine Main Clinic in Alton. The conversion of a supply room to expand the sterilization area, as well as purchase of new washers and sterilizers and remodeling of the existing dispensing area is expected to be complete in August.
Also in August, the second phase of a $10.8 million housing project to install replacement rooftop HVAC units and controls in SIUE's first three residence halls should be complete. The replacement of HVAC units and controls will ensure better control of moisture in the halls.
A $1.6 million renovation of the University Center Bookstore, which will involve remodeling and renovations, is set for completion in February 2009, while a $6 million renovation to the Vadalabene Center gymnasium should be finished in October.
"We're replacing the 23-year-old bleachers and taking advantage of the space opportunities that a replacement system might offer," Walker said. "This project will
replace the existing single-tiered bleacher system with a two-tiered system, and capture an additional 13,800 square feet for offices, classrooms and storage to be used by Athletics and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education."
A $2 million renovation and expansion of the Early Childhood Center, set for completion in March 2009, will allow the center to accommodate an additional 34 children. Currently the center's capacity is 54 children, with a waiting list of more than 130.
"The lack of available quality child care has become a recruitment and retention issue for young faculty members who need these services," Walker said. "Additionally, the configuration of the center does not facilitate learning by students in the SIUE Early Childhood Education Program." The renovation also will include a large storm shelter in the building's basement.
Also in March 2009, the completion of a $10 million Wrestling and Volleyball Center is expected. The new facility, which will meet the standards to serve as a Midwest Olympics Wrestling Training Center, will be located along Stadium Drive and will be for intercollegiate wrestling and volleyball and community-based youth wrestling programs.
"SIUE attracts many visitors from around the country and around the world," Pennekamp said. "Scholarship activities, cultural events and sports venues all attract individuals and families who support area hotels, local restaurants and retail establishments. The Wrestling and Volleyball Center adds one more exciting venue to the campus and one more reason to visit the community."
A final project that is pending approval is improvements to University Park Drive. This project will extend North Research Drive and improve the shoulders along University Park Drive. It is estimated that the improvements will cost about $500,000.
"SIUE is committed to providing first rate facilities in support of our students and our teaching, service, and scholarship missions," said Kenn Neher, SIUE vice chancellor for administration. "This building program will firmly plant our facilities in the 21st Century and make a major contribution to the economic and cultural vibrancy of this region."