CHICAGO - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $150,000 to the City of Urbana for the expansion of the Urbana Free Library, and $500,000 to Urbana School District 116 for classroom additions to Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School at 1108 West Fairview Drive.
“I want to ensure that every child in Illinois is getting the best education possible, and improving school and library facilities is part of that plan,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Expanding the infrastructure improves the learning environment for our children and provides better access to educational resources for children and adults.”
On a per capita basis, the Urbana Free Library is one of the most heavily used public libraries in Illinois. The 27,000 square foot expansion nearly doubles the available space for the Adult Department and Archives (the library’s nationally-known local history and genealogy collection), and nearly triples the size of the Children’s Department. Renovations will also be made to other portions of the library, parts of which date back to 1918.
The grant to Urbana School District 116 is for construction of four additional classrooms at King Elementary School to replace portable classroom units. Approximately 400 students attend King Elementary and over half of them come from low-income families.
“In order for our children to get the best education possible, they need to learn in a good environment, that includes more classrooms and better libraries,” said state Representative Naomi Jakobsson who represents Champaign and Urbana. “I am pleased that the hard work of Superintendent Amberg, Mayor Satterthwaite and our entire community has paid off and that we are bringing over a half a million dollars to this district. I want to thank governor Blagojevich for releasing the funds for these projects that are important to our community.”