February 02, 2006

State finalizes contracts for library project

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The pace of renovations at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library will quicken following finalization of construction contracts by the Illinois Capital Development Board.

The companies involved and their hometowns are:

• River City Construction, Peoria-Benton, general contractor

• Southern Illinois Piping Contractors, Carbondale, heating and plumbing contracts

• France Mechanical, Belleville, ventilation contract

• Brown Electric, Goreville, electrical contract

• Automatic Fire Sprinkler, Normal, sprinkler contract

The state appropriated $29 million for the project, which involves renovating the building from top to bottom and building a 50,000-square-foot addition. The University pledged about $13 million in additional funding from tuition, for a total of $42 million. Because natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina drove up the cost of building materials, the University will fund up $6 million in additional costs if needed, University officials said.

The general contractor will erect a safety fence around the perimeter of the library on Monday, Feb. 6.

Elevating Morris Library to rank in the top 50 publicly supported academic research libraries in the country is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.