Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, Michigan, has paused construction at Munn Ice Arena and put several additional projects on hold to save money and offset the damage the COVID-19 outbreak has done to the university’s finances, reports the Lansing State Journal.
On June 22, MSU Infrastructure and Facilities Management released a list of ongoing and future construction projects that will be deferred until further notice. The list includes a 35,000-square-foot Munn Ice Arena addition, third-floor changes at the Hannah Administration Building and induction unit replacements at Wells Hall, among others.
Projects out for bid and ready to go into the design, planning, study and pre-planning phases, including northern lower bowl restoration at Spartan Stadium, also will have to wait.
In total, 19 projects will be affected. It’s all part of MSU's efforts to save $77 million to help counterbalance the continuing economic strains brought on by COVID-19.
“The university does face financial challenges,” Fred Woodhams, communications manager for MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities, told the Lansing State Journal. “We certainly understand (the delays).”
MSU administrators, Infrastructure Planning and Facilities officials and any stakeholders involved helped decide which projects to table and which to continue, Woodhams said. MSU is continuing several projects in the academic category, including a $41.5 million addition to the Music Building.
Work will continue at Munn Ice Arena to fully enclose it and to create a southern exit route, said Matt Larson, spokesperson for MSU Athletics.
MSU Athletics relies on fundraising to pay for projects. In the past, athletics officials have been cleared to finish construction projects without securing all the funding ahead of time, carrying some debt over to future budgets, he said.
“Athletics can not spend more than it has raised,” Larson said, in an email. “MSU Athletics continues to aggressively fundraise to secure the approximately $7.5 million necessary to complete the [Munn Ice Arena] project.”
For the projects that will continue, employees and contractors will be required to take temperature checks and wear face coverings.
“We are very much concerned with the health and safety of MSU students, faculty and staff and the contractors and employees,” Woodhams said.