GRAYSLAKE – Governor George H. Ryan today released $8 million in state construction funds to continue work on the new University Center of Lake County, a unique facility that offers students in Chicago’s northern suburbs a wide variety of classes from 12 of the state’s public and private universities.
“We broke ground for the University Center two years ago, and these new construction funds will help ensure that students of all ages have access to some of the best higher education opportunities Illinois has to offer,” Ryan said.
The University Center is housed in a $22.8 million facility on the campus of the College of Lake County. The 80,000-square-foot Center will offer undergraduate and post-graduate courses to an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 students every year. The target student population is comprised of adults who already are employed or who have families and find it difficult to continue their education at a traditional college campus.
Participating schools at The University Center are the Champaign, Chicago and Springfield campuses of the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Northeastern Illinois, Governors State, Dominican University, St. Xavier University, Columbia College, Concordia University and Barat College.
The University Center is a product of the Ryan Administration’s emphasis on expanding learning opportunities for people of all ages. Along with the new construction of classrooms and laboratories at community colleges and universities, the state has invested heavily over the last three years in high-tech “distance learning” systems.
Governor Ryan led the way in developing the Illinois Century Network, the country’s most comprehensive high-tech Internet link. The ICN now bonds 5,600 universities, colleges, schools, libraries, museums and government agencies.
The last three years also saw the development of the Illinois Virtual Campus, an Internet-based learning tool that currently has enrolled more than 50,000 students. The companion “ Illinois Virtual High School” is helping 2,700 high school students take classes they can’t find at their local high school or helping them take additional courses for college credit.