BOT approves raises, breaks ground for cancer institute

By Gus Bode

The Board of Trustees meeting ended quickly, with most people in attendance anxious to get to a ground breaking for SIU’s newest addition, University spokeswoman Sue Davis said.

Officials broke ground for the SIU Cancer Institute in Springfield Friday morning, shortly after the BOT approved a general salary increase.

The 3 percent raise is effective going back to July 1, and Carbondale employees not represented by a bargaining unit should see it in their August paychecks, SIU government-relations officer David Gross said. Back pay for first part of July will be paid in September. Student workers are not eligible.

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Chancellor Walter Wendler acknowledged the importance of pay raises last week, and said they were of the highest priority. However, Wendler questioned the decision’s immediate effect, saying he would first like to see the money used to improve classrooms.

“I think everyone appreciates the fact that people need to be reasonably well paid and so on, but in fact those kinds of things are less perceivable for the naked eye,” Wendler said.

The groundbreaking, which Wendler took part in, will eventually result in some very perceivable results for eyes of all kinds, but it will take time for construction to start.

The University expects construction to begin in spring 2006 and finish some time in 2007. The institute will be housed in a 66,000 square foot building that will cost an estimated $21.5 million to complete.

Despite muggy weather, the ceremony went well, with BOT Chairman Roger Tedrick and SIU President James Walker both giving speeches, Gross said.

Establishing the institute is important for students at the University as well as cancer patients throughout Central and Southern Illinois, because modern facilities will make it easier to advance patient treatments, Walker said.

Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost of the Springfield campus, issued a statement Friday that said one of the goals for the new facility is to translate research into treatments faster.

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The completed institute will be three stories, and will consolidate the University’s cancer clinics, which are currently located in several buildings. The research and outreach program offices will also be in the new institute.

Reporter Zack Quaintance can be reached at [email protected]

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