BELLEVILLE – March 31, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) to announce a $19.1 million investment that will help improve energy efficiency at the school’s Belleville campus. The Illinois Jobs Now! capital investment will fund construction of an environmentally-friendly, 72,000 square-foot expansion of the Liberal Arts Building. The project is expected to create an estimated 175 construction jobs.
“As a former community college teacher, I understand that an investment in our state’s community colleges is an investment in tomorrow’s highly-trained workforce, which is the key to our long-term economic stability,” said Governor Quinn. “This project will create a modern and green facility where students at Southwestern Illinois College can learn and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow – an investment that will pay off for years to come.”
The new three-story addition to the Liberal Arts Building will be energy efficient and designed to achieve a minimum of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification. Green features will include rain gardens to recharge local groundwater by slowing water runoff, and a white roof to reduce energy consumption.
Recycled steel will be used in the construction, as well as local materials that will reduce the fuel used in delivery, reduce CO2, and boost the local economy. Through the use of recycled and reclaimed existing site materials, tons of waste can be diverted from landfills.
“On behalf of our trustees, faculty, staff and student body, we sincerely appreciate the support we’ve always received from Governor Quinn and our regional legislators,” said Southwestern Illinois College President Georgia Costello, Ph.D. “The expansion will provide adequate classroom and laboratory space to meet current and future high demand for courses. In addition, given our regional leadership role in the Illinois Green Economy Network of community colleges, incorporating sustainable design elements and energy efficiency measures will be a construction priority.”
The project will be administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The state’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program has created an estimated 135,000 jobs to date, and is expected to create or retain more than 439,000 jobs over six years.
“DCEO is proud to support Governor Quinn’s efforts to improve our educational infrastructure,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “Our community colleges are an important asset in our efforts to ensure Illinois workers are getting the skills they need to attain fulfilling careers and success in the 21st century economy.”
A record 56,844 students completed degree or certificate programs at Illinois community colleges in fiscal year 2010 - more than 3,800 more than the previous record set in fiscal year 2009, according to figures released in January by the Illinois Community College Board.