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ISU board approves long-term plan that includes moving U High

ISU board approves long-term plan that includes moving U High

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NORMAL — A 20-year master plan for Illinois State University that calls for a new location for University High School and a new Mennonite College of Nursing building receive unanimous approval Friday from the ISU board of trustees.

The trustees also approved the $15.4 million Central Illinois Broadband Initiative that will extend high-speed Internet in underserved areas. The university also received the go-ahead from trustees to borrow $15 million for several improvement projects, including at Hovey Hall.

In 2009, the university started crafting the plan that will guide campus improvement for years. A cost to the 65-project plan has not been determined. Dan Layzell, ISU’s vice president for finance and planning, said work to determine how much the plan will cost can begin now that the trustees have adopted the plan.

Included as part of the master plan is the move of the high school and Thomas Metcalf School to its Gregory Street property, formerly the university farm.

The plan also calls for the demolition of the aging south campus residence halls of Atkin, Colby, Whitten and Hamilton. That space would become the site of a new Mennonite College of Nursing.

Meanwhile, ISU is spearheading the broadband initiative in Central Illinois to make high-speed Internet available for residents and businesses. The project is part of a $100 million statewide project funded by state and federal grants.

Jason Spence, project manager for the Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network, will give an overview of the initiative at the Normal City Council meeting Monday night.

In another matter, the university also intends to borrow $15 million which will bring ISU’s total debt to $139.6 million. Of that, $8.5 million will pay for energy conservation projects, $5.5 million is earmarked for Hovey Hall improvements and $1 million will pay for other campus improvements and loan costs.

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