Slivka, Tribune Center openings carry big costs for NU

Rani Gupta

The completion of three buildings expected to open this fall will add up to $5 million in operating costs to next year’s budget, said Eugene Sunshine, Northwestern’s vice president for business and finance.

Slivka Residence Hall, the McCormick Tribune Center and the Nanofabrication Center are on schedule to open with full occupancy at the start of the next school year, said Ron Nayler, associate vice president for university development.

Sunshine said a portion of the Tribune Center’s endowment has been set aside for operation and maintenance costs, which include heating and cooling expenses.

Interest earnings on the university’s endowment will pay for the operating costs of Slivka, the Nanofabrication Center and the rest of the Tribune Center’s maintenance expenses, Sunshine said. The university has been setting aside money annually to pay for these costs, he said.

The three buildings are some of the earliest to be completed in NU’s recent construction explosion.

“This is the single largest building boom the university has seen, all due to generosity of our donors and the good economy that existed when we went out on our capital campaign,” Nayler said.

The Combe Tennis Center and the 75,000 square-foot Arthur Andersen Hall addition also were completed this year.

Ongoing construction projects include:

_Ѣ Arthur and Gladys Pancoe Evanston-Northwestern Healthcare Life Sciences Pavilion, a biomedical research facility expected to open next spring northwest of the Allen Center;

_Ѣ Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, which recently began construction on the Chicago campus and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2004;

_Ѣ Crowe Hall, the four-story addition to Kresge Hall, expected to be complete in spring or summer 2004; and

_Ѣ Ford Motor Co. Engineering Design Center, which will have a finalized design by the end of the calendar year.

All projects are currently on schedule, Nayler said.

When all Evanston campus construction projects are completed, Sunshine said their operating costs will run about $10 million annually.

Sunshine said about 80 percent of that amount has been earmarked for operation and maintenance costs. The rest of the cost, which Sunshine expects will be $1 million to $1.5 million annually, will come out of NU’s operating budget, which includes donations, federal grants and tuition money.

Sunshine said the expense will not harm the budget because the amount is relatively small.

“When you’re running an annual budget for a university that’s approaching $1 billion, you usually have enough flexibility that this is something we will be able to absorb because we planned for it – even though we don’t have a specific source for the last chunk of it,” he said. “We plan accordingly so it won’t be disruptive of other places we need to spend money.”