A top Illinois university is about to put a price on failing to bring a potential conflict of interest between a school official and her architect husband to the attention of state officials for 15 months.
The exact start dates for renovation of the 120-year-old Natural History Building, designed by Nathan Ricker, at the Urbana-Champaign campus remain unclear. At the moment, it looks like the lapse in reviewing an architectural design contract with Illinois and Iowa-based BLDD Architects will add a year delay and more than a million dollars in total cost to a planned $70-million project. In addition, the university has reassigned a senior planning director while the school system reviews its policies. And state officials are investigating why, in the post-Blagojevich era, the original contract was not presented to the state procurement policy board for conflict-of-interest review.