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Bioscience building funding approved

The+above+illustration+shows+the+Bioscience+Innovation+Building%2C+which+will+be+placed+in%0D%0Afront+of+SUL+on+the+Hammond+campus.+
The above illustration shows the Bioscience Innovation Building, which will be placed in
front of SUL on the Hammond campus.

The above illustration shows the Bioscience Innovation Building, which will be placed in front of SUL on the Hammond campus.

photo provided: Michael Kull

photo provided: Michael Kull

The above illustration shows the Bioscience Innovation Building, which will be placed in front of SUL on the Hammond campus.

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The Indiana General Assembly approved the $35.1 million needed to fund the construction of the Bioscience Innovation Building on the Hammond campus. State legislators from the House and the Senate made the decision on April 22.

The Bioscience building will be 68,026-square-feet and will house the College of Nursing and Department of Biological Sciences. The Gyte Annex will be demolished.

Thomas Keon, PNW chancellor, said the House initially submitted a budget to the Senate that included funding for the Bioscience building. The Senate then made changes to the budget that did not include funding for the building, though eventually both the House and the Senate came together on an agreement on the final budget, which included the $35.1 million necessary for the construction of the building.

“Initially I was disappointed [that the funding was removed from the budget], but I knew that, depending on how buildings were funded, that there might be a possibility of getting it back in the final budget,” Keon said. “When the revenues came in positive, there was at least a glimpse of possibility and when we were on the list I was ecstatic.”

Keon said it is not unusual for changes to be made to a budget before a final version can be agreed upon.

“That usually happens with every bill. They get a group together that looks at it to get something that is acceptable for both the House and Senate,” Keon said. “The budget is the toughest because there’s so many variables.”

Michael Kull, associate vice chancellor for Facilities and Capital Projects, said he is pleased with the decision to fund the construction of the Bioscience building, as it has been something he has been pursuing for 15 years.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster. We invested a lot of time into this and it made it to the House, but then it fell through, which was disappointing but was picked up again in the Senate committee. So it was pretty cool going from very excited to disappointed to very excited again in a few days,” Kull said.

According to Keon, a meeting will be held on May 9 to discuss the next steps in the process of constructing the Bioscience building, including coming up with a timeline and hiring a construction firm to begin working on blueprints. Two million dollars that was approved two years ago for the creation of architectural blueprints are available now.

“People will bid on that, then there will be a selection and then start working on the final details of what needs to be done for construction of the building,” Keon said. “Really what I hope is that we can hire a design firm so we can have design construction begin early next summer (2018). Construction bonding can be made available, so that’s the earliest the $35.1 million can be freed up.”

Currently, the Gyte Annex connects to the Powers and Potter buildings. Kull said that while it is yet to be designed, the intent is to keep a connection between those buildings after the demolition of the Gyte Annex. Kull also said that while specifics are still being determined, of the offices that are currently located in the Gyte Annex, those that are affiliated with the College of Nursing and Department of Biological Sciences will be moved to the Biosciences building.

“I think it will be the new face of campus. If you look at the contemporary design, it’s not 90 degree redbrick without many windows like we currently have [with SUL]. I think it’s a great looking building,” Kull said. “Now we’re going to have a new building that will be huge for PNW.”

The construction of the Bioscience building, which will be located in front of the SUL building in what is currently a section of the parking lot, is expected to eliminate some parking spaces. Kull said that the results of an annual parking survey found that the parking garage is underutilized, which can be used instead of the parking spaces that will be lost with the construction of the Bioscience building. Kull also said that the city of Hammond is going to repave and widen the streets from 173rd and put in a pedestrian refuge island

photo provided: Michael Kull

The above illustration shows the Bioscience Innovation Building, which will be placed in front of SUL on the Hammond campus.

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