– Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded $3.36 million to Southwestern Illinois College for more classrooms and improvements to the college’s Granite City Campus. The new funds will add more technology classrooms, remodel existing interior space, reconfigure entrance roads, and improve the overall appearance of the campus along Maryville Road. The Governor also joined college officials to rename the institution the Southwestern Illinois College Sam Wolf Granite City Campus in honor of the former state representative who has been a college Trustee since 1995.
“More than 23,000 students are getting their degrees from Southwestern Illinois College. These new technology classrooms on the Granite City campus will help better prepare students for the workforce,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I’m also honored to join the community in renaming this campus after Representative Sam Wolf. As a longtime member of the House, Sam helped establish this campus and worked very hard to bring state dollars home to build facilities like the Industrial Training Center.”
The $3.36 million was included in the Fiscal Year 2007 state budget passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Gov. Blagojevich. The Governor announced the funding today at the Granite City Campus with State Sen. William Haine and State Reps. Jay Hoffman and Dan Beiser. He also joined college president Elmer Kirchoff and former Rep. Wolf to officially rename the campus.
Granite City resident Sam Wolf served 18 years in the Illinois House of Representatives before retiring in 1992. As a member of the General Assembly, Wolf helped Belleville Area College (now SWIC) establish a campus in Granite City and secured state funds to build a new industrial training center there. He also pushed legislation to establish voting sub-districts for the college’s board candidates to provide more effective representation for all areas of the district. Wolf has been a member of the SWIC Board of Trustees Since October 1995.
“I am pleased that Governor Blagojevich has once again made Southwestern Illinois College a priority. These funds will help the Sam Wolf Campus continue and improve its service to the Granite City area,” said State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville).
The state funding will go toward constructing new classrooms for specialized instruction, including computer software training and accessibility to computers for individualized learning. The existing interior space in the Main Building will be remodeled for student and administrative services, including financial assistance, counseling, a business office, a print shop, community services, health services, career and veterans services, minority transfer, and administrative offices.
“These capital improvements will make the college campus buildings much more attractive for our students. This project will enhance the learning environment and improve the image of our entire community. That is why we supported the funding for these improvements,” said Sen. William Haine (D-Alton).
The project will also improve the campus’ appearance, construct new entry roads to eliminate confusion and traffic problems, and correct water drainage problems at the site. The current north campus entrance will be removed, and the south entrance reconstructed to serve as the main entry point. A new ceremonial drive will lead students and visitors to the new building expansion and a new, central entrance lobby. Reconfigured green space on the campus’ front lawn and screening of the facility’s service buildings will improve the college’s visual appearance and present a more professional image to the community.
“It’s a privilege to be here today to honor Representative Wolf, and to see once again that Governor Blagojevich considers education in the Metro East region to be a top priority. These funds will allow the newly-named Sam Wolf Granite City Campus to continue its stellar service to the region,” said State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton).
The SWIC Sam Wolf Granite City Campus is located in a former high school built in 1973 on a 73-acre site at the southeast corner of Illinois Route 203 and Maryville Road. Southwestern Illinois College purchased the property in 1985 and has since developed a strong industrial technology training curriculum there.
“Once again Governor Blagojevich has collaborated with our hard-working area legislators to demonstrate their collective commitment to Southwestern Illinois College,” said SWIC President Elmer H. Kirchoff, PhD. “We are also thankful the Governor took time to help us recognize the long-standing contributions of college Trustee Sam Wolf on the occasion of the campus being renamed the Southwestern Illinois College Sam Wolf Granite City Campus.”
Southwestern Illinois College is the largest Illinois community college outside of the Chicago area, with campuses in Belleville, Granite City and Red Bud, as well as 26 off-campus sites including Scott Air Force Base and East St. Louis Community College Center. Annually, more than 23,000 students from the Metro East region attend the college, and 26 percent of high school graduates in the district enroll at Southwestern. The college offers 64 associate degree programs, 95 certificates of proficiency, and features 139 full-time and nearly 700 part-time faculty. Southwestern serves the diverse needs of citizens and businesses in the region through its Center for Training Innovations, Programs and Services for Older Persons, and Career Activities and Employment Center.