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MACOMB — At its meeting, last week the Western Illinois University Board approved the fiscal year 2021 capital budget request that asks for more money for WIU-Quad Cities Phase 3 construction.

The budget request, which totals $283.9 million, asks for $42.3 million for construction at the Moline riverfront campus.

That’s significantly more than the $9 million that was appropriated by the state in the fiscal year 2020 for Phase 3 construction. The state budget passed in the spring included just $98.2 million for overall capital development at both WIU campuses.

Phase 1 construction began in 2010. Phase 3 centers on the construction of an 85,000 square feet academic building. The project is a top priority for the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.

The capital budget request will be presented to the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the General Assembly, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Western’s current fiscal year 2020 state appropriation was $49.6 million.

The Phase III funding request was ranked third of five priorities, after funding for WIU-Macomb Science Building Phase II and for the Tillman Hall renovation, also in Macomb.

Also at its meeting, the WIU Board approved a separate fiscal year 2021 request, a sort of “wish list” for additional funding for the operating budget. That request totaled $18.3 million.

Its top three priorities, in order, are $1 million for enrollment and retention initiatives, $2.5 million for student financial aid and $2.1 million for expanded and new academic program faculty support.

An ask of $1.1 million for Quad-Cities student services ranked fourth out of seven priorities.

Interim President Martin Abraham downplayed expectations around the requested funds. “The odds that we actually see the funding for that in the near future is very slim,” Abraham said. 

The next meeting of the WIU Board of Trustees will be held Dec. 13 in Macomb.

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