Capital funding release announced
Published: Thursday, July 14, 2011
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2011 14:07
CHAMPAIGN--Parkland College's 15-year quest for additional campus space should soon be over, now that recently secured capital funds from the state will help it begin its final phase of campus construction projects.
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and school officials announced the release of $24.6 million in capital funds to Parkland, during a press conference held Thursday at the campus. Simon's visit to Parkland was part of her statewide tour of community colleges that started earlier this year.
"Students across the state are motivated to attend college, so it's our job to ensure that once they are on our campuses, they receive the best education possible," Lt. Gov. Simon said. "With this money, we are excited to create construction jobs and invigorate the economy today, so students can access the education they need for the jobs of the future."
Parkland College President Thomas Ramage said the state portion of funds needed to complete the college's Campus Master Plan has now been fully secured. "I am extraordinarily pleased to have the last remaining hurdle behind us and begin planning of the final phase," he said. "Our students will benefit from enhanced and expanded classroom and lab facilities." The Plan was based on a 1996 assessment of campus space needs conducted by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) and Paulien & Assoc, Inc. The assessment had indicated a 111% deficit of student service and lounge space, a 19% deficit of food facilities space and a 46% deficit of administrative services space.
This second part of the two-phase Plan includes construction of a 96,000 sq. ft. facility to house all student service functions, including additional student lounge and food service space. Construction on the Student Services Center should begin in late fall and is expected to be completed in fall 2013 or spring 2014. Phase II funds are also being used to construct a new Fitness Center adjacent to the Donald C. Dodds Jr. Athletic Center. The state-of-the-art facility will contain kinesiology/dance/aerobics class space; athletic training/strength training/workout areas; an indoor walking track; new locker rooms and team rooms; and coaches' offices. The project also includes renovation of the lower level of the athletic center. Groundbreaking on the Fitness Center occurred in early June, with construction to be completed by fall 2012. More information on Parkland's Campus Master Plan is available at www.parkland.edu/construction-update/constructionupdates.aspx.
"These projects at Parkland will employ hundreds of construction workers and provide enhanced educational opportunities for students once they are complete," said Jim Underwood, executive director of the Capital Development Board (CDB), which administers all non-road state-funded construction projects. "We are thrilled to join Lt. Governor Simon and President Ramage in bringing this good news today."
As Gov. Pat Quinn's point person on education, Simon has been visiting Illinois' 48 community colleges since February to find out what colleges are doing and how the state can help them recruit and retain more students. The state hopes to bring the number of working-age adults with college degrees/certificates up to 60 percent (from 41 percent) by 2025.