NORMAL – June 7, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced an agreement between the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and Heartland Community College to build an Illinois Army National Guard facility on the college’s campus.
”Under this agreement, the Illinois National Guard will be positioned to ensure public safety better than ever before,” said Governor Quinn. “This facility will also bring federal funding into the Bloomington-Normal area, put people to work and provide young people with new learning opportunities.”
Under the agreement signed by Illinois National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. William L. Enyart and the college’s board of trustees, the Illinois Army National Guard will build the headquarters for the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade adjoining an existing college facility. The $16.51 million project will be 75 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Defense with the State of Illinois contributing $4.4 million. Construction of the project is scheduled to start in January 2012 and it will be completed within two years.
The new facility will bring about $2.8 million in federal funds to Illinois each year after it is built, including $2.7 million each year to the Bloomington-Normal area.
“I’m pleased the IL National Guard will have a quality facility centrally located in the state so they are prepared to respond to any disaster in a quick and efficient manner. Upon hearing that a facility at Heartland Community College was an option, I impressed upon both Governor Quinn and General Enyart that Heartland would be both a logistically and fiscally responsible location. I’m so pleased they both agreed and that 22 new permanent positions and an estimated 150 construction jobs will be located here in Normal,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson.
The 404th MEB includes several units with capabilities designed for domestic emergency missions including search and extraction, mass casualty chemical, nuclear and biological decontamination; military police, firefighting, engineers and communications. The facility will give the 404th MEB easy access to the highway system and airport in the center of the state, allowing it to respond quickly to high-risk areas in the north, south and west of the state.
The project includes 11,800-square-feet of shared space. The Illinois Army National Guard will build six classrooms that Heartland Community College will use during the week. The Guard will also add more than 200 parking spaces for the college’s use. Heartland will allow the Illinois Army National Guard use of the auditorium, fitness center, kitchen/dining areas and classrooms during the Guard’s training assemblies.
The project comes at no cost to the college, the state’s higher education system or the surrounding community. Heartland is considering several courses and programs that could be offered at the facility including law enforcement training, a traffic safety school, truck driver training and first-responder training.
“This agreement will provide myriad benefits to the College,” said Dr. Jonathan Astroth, president of Heartland Community College. “Such a public safety resource will provide additional instructional facilities at no cost to taxpayers or students while consolidating existing Heartland training programs for first responders, including EMT and EMS, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel. The facility could house Heartland’s truck driver classroom training and traffic safety school as well.”
The project will be designed and completed to the LEED Silver sustainability level, and the college and the National Guard are exploring the possibility of using a wind turbine to provide electricity to the facility.