Good morning, Chairman Arroyo, Republican Spokesman Butler, and members of the House Appropriations-Capital Committee.
My name is Lisa Freeman, president of Northern Illinois University. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today about NIU’s request for State investment in a forthcoming, multi-year infrastructure program.
In college guides for parents and prospective students, such as the one published by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest, the condition of campus infrastructure and facilities is a key point on the list of what should be considered when selecting a university to attend.
As public universities and state leaders continue to focus attention on years of enrollment declines and the outmigration of students, NIU believes capital investment in higher education should be considered as a significant part of a multi-pronged solution.
Keeping maintenance needs, student recruitment and accreditation of academic programs in mind, NIU has thoughtfully prioritized a list of eleven projects for which we respectfully request the State’s investment of approximately $326 million for expenditure throughout the next multi-year capital program. Included in this number is funding for demolition of buildings that are no longer inhabitable. This approach allows us to maintain our current campus footprint.
The list of NIU priorities includes one new academic building and the rehabilitation, or enhancement, of ten existing buildings all ranging from 41-107 years old and having not had any significant modernization investments.