RANTOUL – October 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced $38 million in capital funding to build a new campus for the Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy (LCA) in Rantoul. The 150,000-square-foot campus will replace LCA’s five World War II-era buildings and better serve the former high school students who are getting a second chance at the academy. Construction of the facility is expected to create more than 260 jobs.
“Investing in our youth is one of the smartest decisions we can make,” said Governor Quinn. “This investment will create hundreds of jobs and ensure that the Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy has everything it needs to help its students succeed in school and in life.”
Funding for the new campus comes from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, which includes $3.8 million for planning and $34.3 million to build the new campus. The new, 500-student campus will include administrative, educational, physical fitness, dining, support facilities, parking and other amenities.
The campus will be designed to meet Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) Silver Certification, a designation that will recognize its energy efficient, sustainable, environmentally friendly design. Design of the new campus will take place this winter and construction is expected to begin in 2012. Champaign-based Ratio Architects, Inc. will design the new campus.
The Illinois Department of Military Affairs is working with the city of Rantoul and the U.S. Air Force to transfer land for the new campus. The city has signed an agreement with the department to give LCA 25 acres for the new campus.
“This is a great state and federal partnership,” said Maj. Gen. William Enyart, Adjutant General for the Illinois National Guard. “This gives the students at Lincoln’s ChalleNGe a better learning environment and upgrades the tools they need to better their education and make them productive in their community. This is a win-win for everyone involved.”
Lincoln’s ChalleNGe Academy is a successful youth military academy that places high school dropouts in a highly-regimented program designed to increase personal discipline, develop important life skills and instill the value of education. Administered by the Illinois National Guard, LCA has been instrumental in giving thousands of at-risk youths a second chance to turn their lives around by dramatically decreasing graduates' chances of criminal behavior and use of social services.
Illinois operates the nation’s largest single-site Youth Challenge Academy with 140 employees assisting more than 240 at-risk youth. More than 11,400 students have graduated from LCA since its launch in 1993.