Broad Art Museum to finish later than planned
MSU painted a troublesome picture of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum’s future on Wednesday, saying it didn’t expect to break ground on the project until March 2010, more than a year and a half later than originally planned.
According to a university press release, ground will be broken on the museum next spring, and the museum will open in 2012. When the project was announced last winter, plans called for breaking ground in fall 2008 and completing the museum by 2010.
The State News first reported March 30 the university’s struggle to complete the project within its $40 million budget and timetable.
Among the challenges the university faces are a costlier-than-expected design and struggle to raise funds in addition to an initial donation from billionaire MSU alumnus Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe.
When the project was announced in January 2008, the projected cost of the museum was $40 million – $26 million of which was donated by the Broads.
However, initial cost estimates for the project were about four times more than the original $40 million, at about $160 million.
In February, MSU’s Associate Provost for Academic Services Linda Stanford said the project would still be completed in the $40-million range.
There were some issues with cost and making sure we had enough donations to make it happen, Stanford said in February. “We’re still close to that. It’ll be close to $40 million.”
Stanford declined further comment about the museum Wednesday.
The projected total cost of the museum now stands to be somewhere between $40 million and $45 million, according to the university release.
“Over the course of the last 14 months, we have been working to assure the architectural, programmatic and financial viability of the project,” MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a prepared statement. “With the timeline confirmed, we are pleased we are moving forward.”
MSU announced Zaha Hadid, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, and her London firm, Zaha Hadid Limited, would serve as architect of the museum in January 2008. Hadid’s firm was chosen from five internationally recognized firms that submitted proposals.
Jed Dingens, a teaching specialist in the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction, said he wasn’t surprised the ground breaking date was pushed back.
Dingens has examined the drawings of the art museum and uses them for senior projects in his classes.
“That’s the right time frame. They will need that much time to get it all squared away,” he said.
The university press release also identified Integrated Design Solutions, a Grand Rapids-based architecture firm, as the lead American firm on the project.
Dingens said the previous American architecture firm attached to the project was based in Cincinnati and had helped on another one of Hadid’s American designs. Dingens said the switch was a good choice, but didn’t give a reason as to why it happened.
“It’s the right architect and now they have the right amount of time to get it done and they’re going to be able to dial in that budget,” he said.
Dingens said it was important for Simon to announce a date for completion to ensure the project would make its latest deadline.
“The president is on record calling for this to happen so that puts everyone in motion,” he said. “If she didn’t make such an announcement, it might be another uncontrolled time frame, but now it looks like a year from now we will be breaking ground.
“It’s going to spur serious activity.”