The history of Parkland's renovations
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 11:04
In order to effectively serve the community, it is a priority that Parkland College should accommodate all of its students, according to “Parkland’s growth benefits the community” on the My.Parkland website. The college is striving for that goal, as evidenced by the history of the campus, as well as its recent renovations.
When Parkland first opened it was located in the downtown Champaign area on 134 W. Church Ave. The location in downtown Champaign is currently home to the Nitaya Thai Restaurant and was then used as a temporary location for the college from the year 1967 until the permanent campus opened in September of 1973.
Parkland was located in a group of old store fronts and churches, according to English Professor Lynn Myers.
Myers further explained that she agreed strongly with the decision to relocate the college.
The Parkland College history page at Parkland library’s website said that on the first day of registration, a line full of students wrapped outside the building in downtown Champaign to sign up for classes. Parkland registered 1,338 students for that fall semester.
Deciding where Parkland College would be relocated was not an easy decision. In fact, 20 different locations were proposed before they decided to relocate to the present site on Bradley Avenue.
Ernest Kump, lead architect of Parkland’s campus planned to accommodate 5,000 full-time students. What Kump referred to as the University Village became a vivid, outstanding architectural design. Parkland College was featured in an exhibit at New York Museum of Modern Art. However, Kump underestimated Parkland’s full potential of expansion.
Since 1996, Parkland has added a number of new programs and expanded the capacity of several existing programs. With the expansion of these programs comes an expansion of the student population as well.
In response to this increased in population, on August 25, 2008, Parkland held a special board meeting to discuss plans to advance the growth in Parkland’s campus. The Board and Council continued to meet and discuss the renovations until February of 2010, when the plan was approved.
Within weeks, the funding became available. According to Jim Bustard, Director of Physical Plant, “The campus renovations started in the spring of 2009 with the remodeling of the gymnasium, the wing remodeling, elevator upgrades, and roofing all started in the summer of 2010.”
The estimated cost of the renovation is $8,575,000 according to “Parkland’s growth benefits the community.”
When asked about his opinion on the improvements to Parkland College, student Terry Miller responded, “It is a breath of fresh air to see Parkland’s new face lift.” Miller explained that he is proud of his school and the improvements make him motivated to be here.
Another student, Gregg Neff said, “The roofing looks really good and I also noticed the orange paint around the buildings which looks very vibrant.”
In many ways, Parkland students and faculty are very proud of the renewing and renovating that has been taking place at Parkland College. Not only does the clean, well-designed architecture of Parkland’s building motivate students and faculty to be here, but it also attracts future students and faculty to become a part of our Parkland Community.
As Parkland renovates and expands, we can expect a growth in population as more space and services prepare the college for more students.