University hopes for capital funds

By Gus Bode

The future Morris Library could be shrinking – at least temporarily.

Construction on the top two floors of the library will be delayed unless the university garners capital funds from the state to finish the project, said Cathy Hagler, Executive Director of Administration. The university has asked the state for $16.7 million to finish the project, Hagler said.

The university is depending on about $68 million in capital funding to finish the library and construct the new Transportation Education Center, Chancellor Fernando Trevi�o said Wednesday. The capital funds would be released early next year, if the state approves them.


Trevi�o said planning is about one-fourth of the way finished for the new Transportation Education Center, for which SIUC requested $41.3 million from the state.

If no capital bill passes, the project will be put on hold for a year, he said, but if it is approved the university will begin accepting bids for construction immediately.

SIU President Glenn Poshard said in an interview last month the funding for the center was of extreme importance to the university.

“If we don’t get that built, we’re going to have to continue to have the No. 1 automotive program in the whole nation out in those old barracks,” he said. The automotive technology campus is located in Carterville, and the new center is to be at the Southern Illinois Airport.

Poshard did not return repeated calls over a three-day period for further comment.

The SIU Board of Trustees approved an additional $14.7 million to finish the library project in July, bringing the total budget for the project to $56.5 million. Although there was no known source for the funds at the time, officials said they would seek state money.

Trevi�o said Poshard has been working with the state legislature to approve the funds for the project.


“Obviously once you start a project you don’t want to stop the construction,” Trevi�o said. “Your costs keep increasing and you delay it – it’s just a mess.”

If the funds are denied this year, the university will apply for them again next year, he said.

David Carlson, dean of library affairs, said he hopes the state funds the remainder of the project, especially considering the commitment the university has shown to the project.

“It’s my firm hope that the state would come through with this money and recognize its obligation,” Carlson said.

Joe Crawford can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 254 or [email protected].