CARBONDALE – Delivering on an Opportunity Returns pledge to strengthen education and job training in Southern Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich was in Carbondale today to attend the groundbreaking for the 45,000 square foot expansion and renovation of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale’s (SIUC) Morris Library that is being made possible by $30 million from the state’s Capital Development Board (CDB). The expansion will add three new computer classrooms, an Internet café, and new study rooms with Internet access. All of these important additions are designed to give students the tools they need to excel in the classroom, while continuing to expand the resources of a university that has earned a reputation as one of the leading research institutions in the Midwest.
“In today’s higher education environment, students have become sophisticated consumers when it comes to choosing their courses, degrees, instructors, and, most importantly, the institution where they will study. To meet the unique and evolving needs of students from across Illinois, and to attract quality students from all over the nation and across the world, we need to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment. The expansion we are beginning at Morris Library today is designed to be just that and will act as a tremendous resource for students in attaining their educational goals, raising the university’s stature today and enriching the educational environment for the future generations of SIUC students,” Governor Blagojevich said.
The 45,000 square foot addition to Morris Library will support distance learning, teleconferencing, classrooms, and a 24–hour study center. Renovations to the existing building will include improvements to the mechanical systems, masonry repairs, installing building automation systems, new fire alarm, electrical, and roofing systems, purchasing high-density storage shelving, and replacing carpeting.
“Governor Blagojevich understands that education is the core foundation of economic opportunity, and, by continually investing in our educational resources to create exceptional learning environments, we are giving students the tools they need to pursue the career path of their choice and stay at the forefront of a competitive global labor market,” CDB Executive Director Anthony Rossi said.
The total cost of the Morris Library expansion is estimated at $42 million, with SIUC contributing approximately $12 million to the project.
CDB will oversee construction of the expansion and improvements to Morris Library. CDB is the state’s construction management company and works on projects as large as the $115 million Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Complex to the renovation of a $75,000 salt storage facility for the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Governor Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development plan is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – finding areas with common economic strengths and needs, and developing a plan with specific actions for each region. This grassroots effort for the Southern region is a product of significant outreach over several months with business, civic and labor leaders, and elected officials. The projects that Governor Blagojevich announced last November for Southern Illinois are designed to be flexible and effective. This plan is tailored to deliver real results that local businesses will see, feel, and, hopefully, profit from.