Budget puts construction on new Health Sciences building on hold

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - No action was taken Thursday afternoon during the Board of Regents meeting on a budget increase proposal for the new Health Sciences building at Midwestern State University.

Dr. James Johnston is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at MSU.

Before that, he was a professor for the College of Health Sciences. He knows the importance that a new building would bring.

"This building is really catching us up with the space and the labs and the equipment that we need to deliver state of the art education," said Johnston.

The project, however, is now on hold after three contractors gave bids back to the university 25-percent more than their original budget.

Thursday, Associate Vice President of facility services, Kyle Owen went before the Board of Regents asking to raise the budget from $40 million to $41 million to help pay for the project, but the problem doesn't stop there.

Owen said even with the new budget, parts of the building would still have to change or be taken out, and without any drawings of the new layout, board members expressed concerns.

"You're not changing just a few ceiling tiles," said Owen. "You're having to make some major changes."

"It's about the interior design layout," said Johnston. "Exterior helps with recruiting so it truly is a balance of a number of factors."

The changes that could be made to the new Health Sciences building is what made several Board of Regents members hesitant to vote 'yes' on the budget increase.

It is a decision Owens understands.

"Without knowing what they're buying, they need to have better definition before they change it," said Owen.

Johnston said this road bump will not stop the university from getting the new building.

"It's a balance and a compromise between a number of factors," said Johnston. "We want to preserve the true intent of those buildings."

A vote on the new budget will happen once a drawing of the new plan is submitted. If the budget passes, construction on the health sciences building will continue.

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