When TCU announced plans to build a $100 million expansion for the Neeley School of Business in 2014, crude oil cost more than $90 a barrel. Now, it’s around $40.
That drop, and the resulting costs to alumni in the oil and gas industry, has been a reason why funding for the project has been slow, Chancellor Victor Boschini and Board of Trustees Chairman Clarence Scharbauer said.
“We still have people giving to TCU in record amounts, but they’re just giving less than they would have if oil had been at $60 instead of $40,” Boschini said.
The remodel to create the Spencer and Marlene Hays Business Commons began with a $30 million donation from Emeritus TCU Trustee Spencer Hays and his wife Marlene.
In the almost two years since the initial gift, TCU has raised a total of somewhere between $35 and $36 million dollars, Boschini said. The project is on hold until more funds are raised because the board predicates new projects on having the money before breaking ground.
Plans for the expansion include updating existing Neeley buildings and adding a central atrium, new offices, and an auditorium, according to the Neeley press release from 2014.
As for when the project can start, stakeholders are expecting oil prices to rise soon, Scharbauer said.
“The infinite wisdom of people I’ve talked to in the oil industry have said it’ll be back in the 50’s maybe the 60’s by at least next year,” Scharbauer said. “I promise you if we can get the price back up, those gifts will be bigger.”