The noise is part of a campus-wide beautification effort that kicked off shortly before the end of the spring semester. University administrators are working to overcome the effects of brutal winters and shrinking budgets on the physical appearance of the main campus.
“Parts of campus were looking a little tired,” NIU President John Peters said. “We made a commitment to fixing things up because, even in tough times, we need a campus in which faculty, staff and students can take pride, and one that potential students want to call home.”
Teams from Finance and Facilities fanned out across campus and identified dozens of high-impact projects that can be completed at relatively low cost during the summer, and which will be noticeable to visiting families, staff and students.
The work will include:
- Landscape Improvements – damaged and worn sod will be replaced, weeds will be treated, dead trees and stumps will be removed, flower beds and planters will be replanted.
- Streetscape – broken sidewalks and curbs will be torn out and repaired; worn-out planters, benches and ashtrays will be replaced.
- Buildings – will be washed and painted as needed; stonework and tuck-pointing repairs will be made.
University employees will carry out much of the work, but some outside companies also will be pressed into service to help make as great an impact as possible through August.
- Work will continue on the new residence hall at Annie Glidden Road and Lincoln Drive North. The goal is to have the building under roof by the fall so that interior work can proceed next winter. This project is being funded by a private partner.
- Grant Tower C will reopen after a dramatic remodeling, with Grant D scheduled to go off line this fall for similar improvements. These projects are funded through bond sales.
- Cole Hall will reopen this fall, with a new state-of-the-art auditorium, a new home for the Anthropology Museum and a specialized computer lab for collaborative learning.
- Wireless computing across campus will dramatically improve, as Information Technology Services will nearly double the number of antennas across campus to more than 500. At the same time, the cost of providing that service to departments and colleges will decrease 24 percent, effective July 1, 2011.
“I am excited to watch the progress of all of these projects over the summer,” Peters said. “Each improvement and upgrade is a reflection of the pride that each of us take in this institution.”