Unexpected costs slow construction

Kenyon hopes some portions of the building will be open in fall 2003.

Construction for the Music Instruction building will be delayed until the building can be redesigned to cut costs after all architectural bids were above the maximum possible cost.

However, Kevin Kenyon, associate vice president for facilities, said students will not notice any changes. He said the size and number of rooms will remain the same. Also, the perimeter of the building will be unaltered.

Instead, Kenyon said Ball State will redesign the structure, including mechanical equipment and sound insulation. Kenyon also said some of the finishers, such as the lights, could be cheaper.

"We're not going to gut the building, make it unsuitable," Kenyon said. "You won't know the difference."

Because of the unexpected costs, construction has been rescheduled for March 2002. Still, Kenyon said he hopes that some portions of the building, such as the classrooms, will be open in fall of 2003.

However, Kenyon said not to expect the 600-seat music hall then.

The building can not cost more than the $21 million budgeted for it, and about $2 million of that is allocated for contingencies -- unexpected expenses that might arise during construction.

To accomodate these contingencies, Kenyon said contractors had to build the building for, at most, $19 million. Though he could not release any specific amounts, Kenyon said the five bids received were higher than the required amount.

According to Kenyon, professional estimators were used several times to monitor the building's cost. However, he said design changes were made in the previous weeks that escalated the cost. Kenyon said he initially thought the changes could be covered by money allocated for contingencies.

"We really had no choice," Kenyon said. "Nobody's happy about it. We were ready to start building."

Until construction can begin, faculty in the college of music will remain where they are.

"This was unexpected," said Elizabeth Richter, a professor of music performer. "We had hoped that the bidding would go smoothly. Since it's only a matter of a few months, we're not really concerned. As long as we get a new building, a few months aren't going to make much of a difference."

Richter, other faculty from the school of music and the music director in the Muncie Symphony Orchestra office will be consulted during the redesign stage to make sure faculty's concerns are met, Kenyon said.

In January, Ball State will re-accept bids. Until then, Kenyon said some site work will continue. He said crews will be moving overhead power lines. They will also put up fence eventually, Kenyon said.


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