Broad museum opening delayed until fall
Citing manufacturing failures and delays, MSU officials said the dedication of the multimillion-dollar Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has been pushed to an unspecified date during the fall semester.
The date originally was set for April 21.
“Am I disappointed? Yes,” museum director Michael Rush said. “It is a glitch. It’s a hiccup on our way, but ultimately, it’s going to be better for us.”
The building’s unique and contemporary appearance — budgeted at $40 million to $45 million — was named as the factor in the project’s delay. Dan Bollman, a design administrator with the MSU Physical Plant, said the problem area is on the building’s glass panels.
Likened to a giant puzzle, Bollman explained each glass panel is unique and must conform to fitting within the steel framing. But each panel must be standardized to be within 2 millimeters of the building’s glass specifications.
“Some of them don’t fit properly, (and) they have to go back through the manufacturing cycle,” he said. “It’s the size and configuration of the glass that has been a problem. “(If the panel) come(s) out a little big or the angles are a little off, they don’t fit.”
Bollman and Rush do not blame the subcontractor, Josef Gartner USA. In fact, Bollman said the company is providing the replacement glass pieces — “it’s just getting the replacement pieces here.”
Calls to Josef Gartner USA went unreturned Wednesday night.
Rush said officials are “beyond” $37 million in funding for the project, adding another $5 million still is required. He said the university has received several $25,000 gifts, bringing the project closer to its overall funding goal.
MSU still needed at least $5 million in funding in November 2011.
Officials expected to receive full funding and dedicate the building on April 21, but Rush now said he does not want to put a date on when MSU will have the complete funding or dedication date.
In the meantime, Rush said activities are being planned to feature student work throughout the spring, and a contemporary art lecture series called “Trending Now with Michael Rush” recently started.
A fall semester opening, rather than one in the summer, which Rush said is possible, includes more students.
“I think we had an ambitious schedule that we were hoping for, so now I think we’re being more realistic for time,” Rush said.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has not been immune to delays and problems in recent years, according to previous reports by The State News.
In June 2007, a $26 million gift from philanthropist and MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, was given to MSU to fund the museum. In March 2009, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said external estimates put the museum’s cost at $160 million, four times the amount of today’s budget. That number has since been scaled back.
Groundbreaking originally was set for 2009, but it was delayed for a year — more than 31 months after the original gift.
The Broads added an additional $2 million to their gift in January 2010, bringing the total gift to $28 million. Mark Terman, associate vice president and director of principal gifts for University Development, previously told The State News he remained optimistic, but cited a difficult economy for receiving slow funding for the remainder of the budget.
History sophomore Jake Asbury said it’s “not a big deal” that the dedication date has been pushed to the fall and looks forward to attending the museum’s opening.
“It’s just one semester,” he said. “They’re doing the work, why get angry?”