University President George Ross announced at last week’s Academic Senate meeting construction on the biosciences building will begin in the fall of 2014 and is estimated to take 30 months, but the project has been in the works for much longer.
In fact, the Central Michigan University biosciences building project has been waiting for approval since 2002 with a proposed budget of $89.4 million. Steve Lawrence, Vice President for Facilities Management, shared with Central Michigan Life the decade-long time line outlining the construction of the project and said it would be a “major undertaking.”
“(The biosciences building) has been on CMU’s Capital Outlay list for quite a while,” Lawrence said. “It’s been on the list since the (Education and Human Services) Building was funded.”
In August of 2002, a committee was formed to discuss which additions would benefit the university in upcoming years when the idea was first proposed, Lawrence said.
A month later, the biotechnology building appeared as the third-highest priority on CMU’s Prioritized Major Capital Projects list for the Academic Division, with an estimated cost of $50 million and a proposed site where the EHS building currently sits.
The EHS building was the highest-ranking priority at the time, with building renovations and maintenance second.
For three years after that, the biosciences building remained on the list while the Brooks Hall space was being evaluated.
Lawrence said, in that time, faculty engaged in conceptual planning, attending conferences to learn about building planning.
In December 2006, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution to approve CMU’s 2007-08 Capital Outlay request, which was submitted to Lansing in October 2006 and had a Biological Sciences and Technology building as the number two priority, costing an estimated $80 million.
The biology department then developed a Program Statement used to describe the need and outlining draft specifications for a new building.
In 2007, the project moved to the university’s first priority, where it has remained for five years.
Provost Gary Shapiro and Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services David Burdette appointed a Biosciences Building Programming Committee in February 2011, and work began in earnest on planning for the building.
In June 2011, CMU submitted preliminary planning sketches to architects with the contract and schematic design going to SHW Group.
The CMU faculty had shown support for the project in the last few years because of the amount of space they have, Lawrence said.
“The biology department, the dean and the associate dean of the College of Science and Technology have been pushing this,” Lawrence said.
In summer and fall 2011, the SHW Group and their subcontracts met regularly with CMU faculty to develop building plans and a program statement.
The program statement for the building was submitted in June 2011, with an estimated building size of 157,934 square feet.
Then came the Public Act 192 of 2012, granting CMU the authority to proceed to the Design Development phase (the second of three planning phases), in pursuit of an $89.42 million project, with the state of Michigan contributing $30 million.
“While there are additional reviews and a need to grant the State Building Authority legislative approval to generate their $30 million, the Design Development approval is the final green light for state funding,” Lawrence said.