Biosciences building to cost $95 million; largest financial investment of university

The biosciences building, if built, will cost $95 million University President George Ross said Tuesday during an Academic Senate meeting.

"This will be the largest financial investment of this university," he said.

Ross said $30 million will come from the state, and Central Michigan University will be responsible for the remaining $65 million, together funding the building that will hold research, lab rooms and teaching facilities for biotechnology and medical classes.

"Sixty-five million dollars will be dependent on university resources (and) how the fundraising goes," he said.

On Dec. 14, 2010, Central Michigan Life reported the biosciences building was one of 23 college infrastructure projects approved by the Michigan Legislature in the capital outlay bill, originally set to cost $65 million total to build, with the $30 million coming from state allocation.

"We may also use university funds, but we really do not know the answer at this point," said Vice President of Development and External Relations Kathy Wilbur in 2010, adding that the project had been in the works for three years.

At that time, Wilbur said private fundraising would most likely finance the remaining costs of the building not covered by state funding, but an official funding source was yet to be determined.

The $30 million allocation was approved by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, but plans changed when Gov. Rick Snyder took office.

On April 1, 2011, a letter from Snyder's office was sent to Ross stating the university was required to submit a preliminary design of the biosciences building by Nov. 4 to be considered for funding, alongside 20 other statewide projects.

CMU is currently awaiting approval from the state, to be determined in March, as reported in January after an interview with Vice President of Facilities Management Steve Lawrence. Upon its approval, construction is estimated to take 28 months.

"There is no guarantee of funding — we will consider it and look at it in comparison to all of the others," said Kurt Weiss, spokesperson for the state budget office, in August 2011.

If the biosciences building is not chosen for funding now, it may be chosen later because there is no set time for when capital outlay projects can be funded, Wilbur said.

In August 2011, she estimated if the building is chosen to receive funding, it would be up and running in the next one to five years.

- Staff Reporter Lonnie Allen contributed to this report.


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