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ISU has plans to begin a $17.5 million dollar restoration project in the coming months

Written by on February 4, 2024

Image Courtesy of Illinois State Housing Instagram 

NORMAL, Ill. – At the last Board of Trustees meeting, an approved agenda item was for the $17.5 million dollar restoration project on Watterson Towers.

A concern about this restoration is the disruption it may have for students residing in Watterson Towers. However,  Illinois State University Associate Vice President of Facility Services Mike Gebeke explains how they plan to complete the project in a timely manner to avoid disturbances within the residence hall

“The proposed schedule is this summer and next summer each Tower would be done during one summer it depends on the contractor and whether they can get the stuff the supplies ordered in here in time for that to see if we’re going to keep that schedule,” he said.

Updating these buildings is not an easy process. Gebeke explains how this restoration project will fit into ISU’s broader plans for campus safety and infrastructure.

“This is part of what I would call our master plan on campus, which is to continue updating and using our existing buildings on campus. So we need to update and bring new codes into play,” Gebeke said. “The state passed a law that the fire marshal has to inspect all buildings using 2015 codes, even if the building was built before 2015, which is a very hard thing to do to bring in updated buildings to that code. So as we try to do that these are projects that we do to try and meet some of those issues that come up from that.”

Gebeke acknowledges that this process will not be a simple one and breaks down what’s to be expected when the restorations begin this upcoming summer.

He said, “This is not an easy project they are working in shafts what we call equipment shafts and that are in the in that are 28 stories tall that they’re working in to fix holes and walls and in some different areas there so it’s it’s not an easy project to do but it’s things that contractors can do.”

Gebeke hopes that with this project, ISU can continue to utilize Watterson as a residence hall for decades to come. 

“This is again this is just part of our master plan to keep using existing buildings that have good bones. These are 100-plus-year old buildings, and we need to do maintenance, and we need to do repairs, and we need to do updates to the buildings to keep them in good operating order over time. And that’s part of what we do for that to keep the buildings in service over time,“ he said.