A Northern Illinois University construction project could be delayed again if state lawmakers don’t pass a budget before the end of the fiscal year.
Construction of the NIU Stevens Building – which houses the theater and anthropology schools – is at risk of being delayed for the second year due to the state’s financial woes.
Alexander Gelman directs the NIU School of Theatre and Dance. He says an entire class of students has come and gone without ever setting foot in their promised new building.
Gelman says the financial uncertainty has put a strain on students and faculty – let alone the school’s performance schedule.
“It’s really hard to plan a season when you don’t know what space you’re gonna be in,” Gelman said.
Anthropology department chair Kendall Thu says the arrangement has been a challenge for his academic department for the last four years and even more so for the School of Theatre and Dance.
“It feels as if the state really just doesn’t care, and if they cared, they would find a way to work through things to support higher education, and that just doesn’t seem to be the case,” Thu said.
Gelman says he recognizes NIU is doing all it can to help, but he says there’s only so much the school can do without money from the state. Thu says construction will be halted and the building will be secured by the end of the day Friday if there is no state budget.
NIU officials say it cost about $300,000 to weatherize the construction site last time it was delayed.