EDITORIAL: Biosciences building sorely needed, worth the costs

A sciences building with a flooding problem designed for the 1960s is no way to attract the exploding number of students looking to enter the biology field.

That's why it is vital that the Board of Trustees approve the proposed biosciences building at its next meeting in April.

Brooks Hall, as it stands right now, is far too small and outdated to properly accommodate the rapidly growing number of biology students and the amount of research that is required. It has also no doubt deterred many prospective biology students from coming to Central Michigan University because of how ancient and cramped the place feels.

With the construction of the College of Medicine, CMU has begun to market itself to the world of biology, chemistry and other sciences. Without the proper facility to house those subjects, the marketing the university has done is pointless.

Nobody wants to go to a college that showcases a beautiful, modern campus and be stuck in the one building that hasn't been touched or remodeled since the 1960s.

The proposed $95 million biosciences building would do wonders in allowing the university's biology program to grow and for new research to be conducted, which, lest the Board of Trustees forget, could mean more funding.

Still, the $95 million price tag is not exactly cheap. In fact, if approved, the building would be the most expensive ever built on campus. The state has pledged $30 million for the project, but that still leaves CMU to foot a $65-million bill.

And with a reserve account sitting at about $280 million and long-term pension and healthcare liabilities eating up much of that over the next decade, we could understand why the board might be a little shy to act. Sixty-five million dollars is a major investment and should not be taken lightly.

Finding and raising that kind of money will be difficult, but the short-term financial pain would be well worth the long-term academic gain CMU would see.

If CMU is serious about billing itself as one of the top-of-the-line research universities in the state and region, approving this project would make absolute sense.

The addition of a biosciences building would only make CMU more appealing to prospective students, and the Board of Trustees should take that into consideration when weighing the pros and cons of this building.

The biosciences building has been discussed at numerous board meetings, and it's time to make a decision. Putting off the approval or dismissal of the proposal isn't doing anything except frustrating people and making presenters feel as though their voice isn't being heard.

It's clear from last week's meeting: the amenities in Brooks Hall just isn't cutting it anymore; people are begging for a change and the board needs to hear their voice and give them a decision.


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