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Plans Moving Along With SIUE Construction Projects

Plans Moving Along With SIUE Construction Projects

Despite challenges presented by the economic downturn, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has progressed in its efforts to update existing structures, reallocate and create space to accommodate growth, and enhance infrastructure.

Since 2006, SIUE has been in the process of investing nearly $300 million in campus construction projects. Some of these have included:

  • The $39.3 million, 190,000-square-foot residence hall, known as Evergreen Hall, which opened in fall 2007 and is home to 500 students each semester, offering a variety of "green" features.
  • The state-of-the-art $16.1 million Student Success Center building, which opened in fall 2009 and allowed for the centralization of academic and personal support services, optimizing the academic, service and social components of the student experience.
  • A $9.1 million Student Fitness Center renovation and expansion project, which was completed in fall 2009 and included the addition of two multi-purpose rooms for exercise and student activities, a 30,500-square-feet gymnasium for court recreation, a food and juice bar, and an office addition.

"Each and every one of our projects is meant to improve services and enhance educational offerings for students, as well as support and encourage faculty in teaching and research opportunities at SIUE," said Rich Walker, assistant vice chancellor for administration. "We are particularly proud of the fact that the majority of our projects are completed within the specified timeframe and under the projected budget."

The University isn't stopping with its current list of completed projects. It expects to introduce another round of projects during the next fiscal year. Future projects, some of which have begun, include:

  • The completion of the long-awaited new Science Building, expected in fall 2012, which is estimated to cost about $53 million.
  • Renovation of the existing Science Building, which will be connected to the new facility, at an estimated cost of $30 million.
  • A roughly $15.3 million Art & Design building addition and renovation. The addition will include approximately 29,000-square-feet of space for classrooms, offices and a gallery.
  • The projected $14.2 million expansion and renovation of the Engineering Building, which currently is underway and will include the construction of a new roughly 32,000-square-feet annex that will be connected to the existing building through an enclosed bridge.
  • The creation of the Vadalabene Center Lukas Athletics Annex at a projected cost of $4.5 million. A total of $4.2 million for the project was provided by a gift from the estate of Charles S. and Mary L. Lukas. The project will include the creation of approximately 29,100-square-feet of space for offices. A planned future project will involve the renovation of the vacated space for use for kinesiology and allied health education.

The Science Building projects are being funded through, and managed by, the Illinois' Capital Development Board. The enhanced Science Building facilities will further the University's standing as a premier Metropolitan University in the St. Louis area, as well as nationally, said SIUE Kenn Neher, vice chancellor for administration. He added, "When these projects are complete, this will significantly enhance the student learning experience at SIUE. The University has a strong commitment to educating tomorrow's workforce for careers in science and health care professions that are currently experiencing workforce shortages."

SIUE Chancellor Vaughn Vandegrift has said the lack of a new science building "has been the single most important factor limiting future growth" at the University.

Three departments, including chemistry, biological sciences and environmental sciences, will move into the new structure upon its completion. Physics, mathematics and statistics will stay in the existing structure, which will be completely gutted and remodeled.

A 2010 Economic Impact Study conducted by members of the SIUE School of Business faculty showed the University had a $471 million annual economic impact on the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. This reflects a 32-percent increase from a study released in 2005. It also reported that SIUE is the second largest employer in Madison and St. Clair counties, with nearly 2,500 full-time employees and a total yearly payroll of more than $130 million.

"The University has a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life for our students, and we work closely with the community and the region to make that happen," Vandegrift said. "Being good stewards of taxpayer dollars is critical to our continued success as an institution."

Other projects that are part of the University's $300 million expenditures include improvements to the Environmental Resource Training Center, the Early Childhood Center, Korte Stadium, Cougar Village, the SIU School of Dental Medicine, the SIUE School of Pharmacy and the University Bookstore. Also, University signage and entrance-ways were enhanced to allow easier campus navigation, and landscaping, sidewalk and roadway improvements were made to ease traffic flow.

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