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posted: 3/15/2012 2:53 PM

Oakton to start construction of new science building

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  • This is an artist's rendering of Oakton Community College's new Science and Health Careers building planned for the Des Plaines campus.

      This is an artist's rendering of Oakton Community College's new Science and Health Careers building planned for the Des Plaines campus.
    Courtesy of LEGAT architects

  • This is an artist's rendering of Oakton Community College's new Science and Health Careers building planned for the Des Plaines campus.

      This is an artist's rendering of Oakton Community College's new Science and Health Careers building planned for the Des Plaines campus.
    Courtesy of LEGAT architects

 
 

Oakton Community College will begin construction this April on a $39 million Science and Health Careers building at its Des Plaines campus.

Prompted by increasing enrollment and overcrowding, it's the first major construction project since the Des Plaines campus opened in 1980, officials said.

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The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 5 at the campus, 1600 East Golf Road, followed by a reception.

The 93,000-square-foot science building is scheduled for completion in 2014. Its construction launches the college's $68.5 million five-year Facilities Master Plan, approved by the college board of trustees in December 2010.

Oakton's existing science and health career facilities are outdated and overcrowded, officials said in a news release.

The new science building meets contemporary and emerging science and health career educational standards, officials said.

It will house the college's anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, earth science, medical laboratory technology, nursing, physics, and physical therapy assistant programs.

The new building will be located on the northeast side of the existing campus. It will feature state-of-the-art labs, flexible classrooms, enhanced technology, and ample lab preparation and storage space.

The building is designed to be aesthetically pleasing, with offices and student study spaces offering views of the lake, while windows in the corridors and classrooms frame the surrounding forest.

Oakton will be seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the facility because of these and other "green" architectural elements, including a system that uses exhaust air to preheat and cool air supply, and occupancy sensors to regulate lighting.

Daylight harvesting will bring natural light to 75 percent of the classrooms and the building facade will be self-shading, officials said.

"This state-of-the art facility will position the college among the leading providers of science and allied health training in the region," Oakton President Margaret Lee said in a news release. "Our Facilities Master Plan will create more than 1,000 new jobs and pump more than $130 million into the local economy."

The master plan includes creating an enrollment center to integrate the college's admissions, advising and counseling, financial aid, registration, and record-keeping services, as well as a student gathering center, classroom upgrades, and other infrastructure improvements.

The work will be funded through $40 million in general obligation bonds, $23 million in cash reserves, and the remainder with private, state and federal grants.

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