Original plans also called for wet-lab space, which now will be constructed in a future building.
“We’ve done some things to lower the cost,” says Bill Jackson, DPI’s executive director. “The design is still interesting, and it fits functionally.”
Inflation has skyrocketed to record levels since the state appropriated $500 million to innovation projects at universities across the state, including $230 million for the DPI project in Chicago. At 8% inflation, the state’s buying power would be reduced by tens of millions a year.
Getting the project out the door also has been a priority for U of I President Tim Killeen.
“Already DPI is working with our many partners—in industry, government and across K-12 and higher education—to tackle real-world challenges and create businesses and jobs,” he said in a statement.
In that vein, officials also are announcing a deal with CVS Health and tech services firm Interapt to provide up to 2,500 individuals, many of them youngsters of color, with tuition-free training and apprenticeship opportunities. CVS has committed to hiring at least 200 successful participants over three years, officials say.
While construction plans are evolving, U of I is pushing ahead with research and education efforts, in addition to workforce training programs already underground.