EDWARDSVILLE – Governor Pat Quinn today kicked-off construction on a $23.5 million project to renovate a building that will complete the new Science Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The Science Center is a $81.3 million facility, funded through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to improve higher education, create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“The final phase of this world-class project will get us one step closer to opening one of the Midwest’s top science centers for higher education,” Governor Quinn said. “By investing in our educational institutions, we are not only creating jobs today but are increasing our ability to train students for the in-demand careers of tomorrow. We want to give every SIUE student the opportunity for high-quality career training in the sciences, and this Science Center does that.”
“The state-of-the-art facilities we’re able to offer our students and faculty are a large part of the foundation of success we’re seeing throughout the university,” Dr. Randy Dunn, President of the SIU System said. “Capital investments, like this one in our science center, are contributing to the ever-growing academic achievement at SIUE, which is why it was recently recognized by Washington Monthly Magazine as a Top 20 institution among its national ranking of Public Master’s Universities. Were it not for Governor Quinn’s leadership and the commitment of the members of the General Assembly, including our own SIU delegation, this project would not have come to fruition.”
“SIUE is always appreciative of support from the Governor's Office in relation to ongoing STEM initiatives on our campus,” SIUE Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe said.
Construction of the new center will create jobs and upon its completion will accommodate the university’s growing science program that is training today’s students for in-demand careers.
The project announced today concerns renovation work on the existing building, which involves reconfiguring approximately 80,000 square feet of space. Construction on the project will create offices, classrooms and laboratories, including upgrading the climate control, mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems and replacing the existing windows with more energy-efficient designs. The finished project will be considered for a LEED Silver designation, a testament to its energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly design.
“It’s important that we continue to invest in higher education in our state, and doing it in a way that is environmentally friendly supplements the benefits for the students and staff,” State Senator William Haine (D-Alton) said.
River City Construction, LLC of Peoria was the lowest of six firms bidding for the general construction portion of the project, and they were awarded the contract with a bid of $20,313,000. The asbestos abatement work is being done by Cenpro Services, Inc. of Madison, the lowest of three bidders at $2,431,069. Roof replacement is being done by Joiner Sheet Metal & Roofing, Inc. of Greenville for $738,955. The $73,000 plumbing contract that goes along with the roof work was awarded to Amsco Mechanical, Inc. of Granite City, the lowest of three bidders. Work should be complete by spring 2016. The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) is managing the construction project.
“We are proud to work with SIUE and apply some of the latest construction science to both the newly-built and soon-to-be-renovated portions of the Science Center,” CDB Executive Director Jim Underwood said. “Learning science improves students’ career prospects, and they can also learn about the latest green technology by watching how the skilled trades people incorporate the latest environmentally friendly components into the existing building.”
The new Science Building adjacent to the one being renovated welcomed its first classes last fall. The state-funded $52.5 million, 107,000-square-foot facility includes research and instructional laboratory space, classrooms and common areas.
The SIUE projects are part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 400,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.