Officials at NIU welcomed news from Gov. Pat Quinn today that he has released $10.3 million for construction projects. The money will be used to address two of the most pressing space issues on campus – repurposing Cole Hall and renovating the Stevens Building.
The funds were approved as part of the state’s capital spending appropriation passed in July 2009 – the first such bill in nearly a decade. The money became available from recent bond sales by the state.
Cole Hall has remained closed since Feb. 14, 2008, when a gunman opened fire on a geology class, killing five students and injuring 19 others. The Stevens Building, located just a few yards south of Cole Hall, is home to the university’s Department of Anthropology and its School of Theatre and Dance. The building has been deteriorating for decades and has been at or near the top of NIU’s capital request list for nearly 20 years.
“Soon after the tragedy of Feb. 14, 2008, we came to the realization that any comprehensive healing process on campus must incorporate efforts to repurpose Cole Hall. With today’s announcement we take great satisfaction in knowing that we are one step closer to reaching that goal,” NIU President John Peters said. “We are also pleased that, after so many years of hoping and dreaming, we can begin to address the deplorable state of the Stevens Building.”