Plans for the construction of the 40,000-square-foot Stephen L. and Connie J. Ferguson International Center have been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The completion date was set for June 2021, according to the IU Capital Projects website. No new date has been set for finishing the center.
The decision to halt the construction on the $17.5 million center was made at an IU Board of Trustees meeting this April.
“That was held up by the trustees during its spring meeting because of financial constraints due to the ongoing pandemic,” IU spokesperson Chuck Carney said. “We halted projects that were not started and reliant on state funding.”
Before the hold, construction workers made progress preparing the site, but the construction process had not begun.
“They had only cleared the space, the former structures were torn down and fencing placed on the site,” Carney said.
The building‘s purpose is to bring together university resources from programs such as the Office of International Studies, the Office of Overseas Studies as well as other organizations who assist international students at IU into a single space, Adam D. Thies, Associate Vice President for Capital Planning said.
The only direction they’ve been given is that the project is on hold, Thies said.
The difficulties of transitioning to a new country and college can be hard on international students.
“It can be intimidating for us to be around totally different cultures and customs,” Ritwik Gupta, a freshman from New Delhi, India, studying economic consulting at the Kelley School of Business said. “That’s a big contributing factor for me coming to IU.”
IU President Michael McRobbie said during his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony IU has established a reputation as a college with international students in mind, with more than 7,600 students from 147 countries.
“A lot of international students, especially new international students, are also halting their plans to return to the campus this fall,” said ZheHu, a graduate student studying human computer interaction at IU.
However, it is unlikely that construction will be finished any time soon.
“If there will be an international center, then I would definitely reach out to them more,” Hu said.