Michigan State Halts Construction on Three Major Projects

Michigan State University has put the brakes on a number of campus construction projects to address a funding gap posed by the impact of the pandemic. The Board of Trustees approved a budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins on Jul. 1, 2020, that included an overall reduction of about $53 million from last year's budget.

A total of 19 projects will be deferred, most still in the bidding, planning or design stages and representing a savings of almost $77 million, according to a status list issued by the Infrastructure and Facilities Management unit. Among the ones that have already begun construction that will be put on hold are:

  • A $23 million ice arena addition;
  • A $6 million HVAC upgrade to an academic building; and
  • A $3.8 million third-floor remodel of an administration building.

Other sizable projects in earlier phases of progress that have been put on hold are a $15 million research laboratory renovation, a $15 million outdoor pool replacement and a $13.7 million solar array buyout.

Work at the institution is continuing on a $110 million STEM teaching and learning facility, $47 million power plant and $41.5 million music building addition, among many other smaller projects. According to local reporting, for the projects that will be continued, workers, whether employees or contractors, will be undergoing temperature checks and required to wear face coverings.

While the university has made salary and benefit cuts across the board to address expected financial shortfalls, the new budget provides increases in several areas: pay for student workers, financial aid and initiatives focused on academic competitiveness and wireless networking upgrades. Also, MSU reported that it would hold tuition and room and board steady at last year's rates to assist students.

"The impacts of the pandemic are unprecedented on an individual, community and societal level. From the loss of life to the loss of jobs to the uncertainty of the future — there is no softening the difficulty of the situation," said President Samuel Stanley Jr., in a statement. "But MSU is dedicated to delivering on its core mission as an inclusive community with strong academic disciplines and a liberal arts foundation. We will continue providing a world-class education, conducting high-caliber research and advancing outreach and engagement locally and globally."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.