College ready to continue funding construction


Augustana Observer File Photo.

Augustana president Steven Bahls said Tuesday, Oct. 5 that the college is ready to “release the emergency break” on funding campus construction projects. This comes after a halt to most construction projects in the 2015-2016 academic school year caused by the uncertainty of the budget situation in the state of Illinois.
He said the college’s Board of Trustees will meet next week on campus to discuss the next steps in continuing construction across campus. This includes a list of about 12 projects to be completed over the next five to six years.
Construction was halted last year after the college learned that it would not immediately receive MAP grant funding from the state of Illinois for about a quarter of it’s students.
The college chose to continue funding it’s students monetary grants at the cost of a delay to construction projects and updates.
The college will not be seeking authorization on any of these projects. Instead, they will discuss what the next steps should be.
“Next week’s meeting will be a time to match ambition to our resources” said VP of Enrollment Kent Barnds.
The construction on Westerlin Residence Hall was the only exception to the construction halt last year. Other projects being discussed will include updates to 12 facilities including the Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts, additions to science facilities, resurfacing of the track, and work to be done on the roofs of several buildings around campus.
Their main concerns for the time being are the completion of Westerlin Residence Hall and updates to infrastructure (such as cooling systems), according to Barnds.
The college is currently in a the midst of a fundraising campaign called “Augustana Now.” The goal of the fundraiser is to raise about $150 Million, according to President Bahls.
The money raised is how the school plans on paying for these construction projects.
The Board of Trustees will meet next Thursday and Friday. This conversation will be only one of their topics. Others include issues of diversity and updates on the Augustana 2020 strategic plan.