News Local/State

No Budget Means Construction Will Stop On New Lab At University Of Illinois

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Construction is due to stop on a new lab at the University of Illinois over the lack of a state budget. University of Illinois Public Affairs

The Illinois Capital Development Board has ordered construction stopped by June 30 on a number of projects around the state because of the lack of a state budget. You can add an agriculture lab at the University of Illinois to the list.

The university said Thursday that work on the $32 million Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory will stop by June 30. Work on the lab was also temporarily halted in 2015 for the same reason.

Lab Director Vijay Singh says projects due to begin at the lab in 2018, when it was scheduled to open, will be postponed or even called off.

"We've made great progress after recovering from the first shutdown. That momentum will be lost," Singh said in a news release.

But university spoleswoman Robin Kaler said there are two other areas where the delay is likely to cost the university.

First, the last shutdown drove up the price tag of the project by about 30 percent. And second, stalling out again makes the university look like an unreliable partner.

“At a time when the state of Illinois is trying to become a hub for economic development and entrepreneurship and innovation, this does nothing but scare away potential partners and investors,” Kaler said.

Allie Bovis is a spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Capital Development Board. She isn’t sure exactly how many projects are affected but says they include a new campus at Lincoln’s Challenge Academy in Rantoul.

Lawmakers are in Springfield this week for a budget-related special session. Illinois has not had a state budget for two years due to a protracted dispute between Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly over spending, taxes and a list of business-friendly measures favored by the governor.