SIU Trustees Table Housing Plan, Approve Other Projects

Dec 8, 2016

A plan to build new residence halls and demolish old ones on the SIU Carbondale campus was tabled Thursday at the SIU Board of Trustees meeting.

Despite what appeared to be consensus earlier, some trustees indicated they want to explore whether bonding or a public-private partnership is a better idea for financing the project.

Undergraduate Student Government President Jared Stern says The Towers are past their useful life for the campus.
"They're not in good shape, as you're aware of, and it is damaging to current student morale. It could potentially hinder further enrollment, including recruitment and retention with the state that those are in. So I just want to urge you to make a decision on that sooner rather than later."
Architecture and Design Committee Chair Joel Sambursky pulled the proposal from the agenda, saying he and others needed more time to consider it. Financing appears to be the big question mark among the trustees, and SIU President Randy Dunn says it's all part of the process.
"This is what boards are supposed to do. You take this stuff on, you do your own work around it, and you do your own work around it. That certainly happened yesterday, we could say that and as the discussion ensued, they said 'you know, it may be time to go this route and see what the campus could do.'"
Dunn and others say the plan is still a "go," but trustees want to make sure the financing is the right fit given budget issues and timing.

The proposal will likely return at the next board meeting, scheduled for February.


Credit SIU

Meanwhile, an SIU Carbondale alumnus will pay for a renovation and expansion of the campus boat house and pavilion.

SIU Trustees unanimously approved the $1 million plan that will replace the current structures and bring them up to code in addition to expanding them.

The development will be funded by Ralph Becker, a 1955 graduate who went on to a career in broadcasting.
The Ralph E. Becker pavilion will include a new classroom space to be named for Frank Stanton, who was President of CBS from 1946-1971.

Construction is expected to finish in the Spring of 2018.

Trustees also approved a plan to allow each campus to serve alcohol at sporting events, concerts, and other activities.

The new rule is the culmination of work that began in Springfield earlier this year. The Illinois General Assembly had to approve a change to state laws to allow for the sales.

Advocates say it'll attract more people to campus activities, and increase revenue for the schools. Each campus is working on its own guidelines to implement the plan in the future.

SIU Trustees extended President Randy Dunn's contract another four years.

The employment deal was supposed to expire in 2018, but after a recent evaluation and discussion of goals, trustees unanimously approved an extension through June of 2022.

Dunn came to SIU in 2015 from Youngstown State University. He'd previously served on SIU Carbondale's faculty and in leadership before being named Illinois State School Superintendent in 2004.