Snyder authorizes $30 million for CMU’s planned Biosciences Building
Ending months of speculation, Central Michigan University received word this week that it would receive an expected $30 million from the state for its proposed Biosciences Building.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, appearing at Wayne State University in Detroit Monday, signed into legislation a $304 million capital outlay bill that will fund 18 projects at places of higher education throughout the state. Among them was CMU’s proposed $90 million Biosciences Building, a facility that would complement Brooks Hall and house lab rooms and teaching space for biotechnology and medical classes.
“We’re very pleased. We were pleased two years ago, and we’re pleased again,” said Kathy Wilbur, vice president for development and external affairs. “It’s a very important building … the next project on our list. It was important to secure that funding from the state.”
Approval of the $30 million was up in limbo for the better part of the last year after former Gov. Jennifer Granholm approved 23 college infrastructure projects in December 2010, just before leaving office. Last August, it was reported that Snyder requested preliminary designs for consideration and it was unknown whether CMU would receive the public funds requested. $30 million is the most a school can receive from the state for a specific capital project.
In addition to the $30 million from the state, CMU will now have to come up with $60 million more, through its capital budget and fundraising efforts. Wilbur said the university submitted a project cost of $89.5 million to the state.
Vice President for Facilities Management Steve Lawrence said in February that construction would begin on the building, planned for the space currently occupied by the Washington Court apartments, once state funding was secured.
“I’m a big believer that until the legislature determines what they are going to do and the governor has signed it, we can’t be doing it,” Wilbur said.
Ian Davison, biology professor and dean of the College of Science and Technology, called the building, tabbed to be the most expensive academic facility on campus, “desperately needed added space.”
“Brooks Hall is badly overcrowded,” Davison said. “It will significantly improve our educational opportunities. We’re really happy.”
Snyder also approved $30 million for a new science lab, classroom and office building at Grand Valley State University and $30 million for a bioengineering facility at Michigan State University.
“These investments allow higher education in Michigan to stay on the cutting edge,” Snyder said in a released statement. “Our colleges and universities play a critical role in Michigan’s future. I am pleased that we are able to support these worthwhile projects.”
Included in the bill was $8.9 million to Mid-Michigan Community College to unify its Mount Pleasant campus.
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