In January, attention turns to the new year and the wealth of challenges and opportunities it brings.
At Waubonsee Community College, we are looking forward to what 2014 will bring, but we are also looking further ahead, to prepare the college to continue to meet the educational and lifelong learning needs of our students for the next decade and beyond.
In December, the Waubonsee community gathered in our Erickson Hall gymnasium on the Sugar Grove Campus to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of our new Field House.
More than just a place to play or work out, the Field House will help foster school pride, develop our students as well-rounded individuals and contribute to the quality of life of the community.
Covering 59,000 square feet, the Field House will support our athletics programs, while providing space for physical education, wellness instruction, and general recreation for our students and the community.
The building will include three indoor courts, two with traditional athletic flooring and one with artificial turf to create indoor space for our soccer, baseball and softball practices.
The second floor of the Field House will include a three-lane suspended running track, as well as a 2,500-square-foot fitness and dance studio, complete with its own audio system.
The new space will be attached to the east side of Erickson Hall, and the two buildings will be connected by a new shared main entrance and lobby.
At the same time, Erickson Hall will undergo renovations, improving locker rooms, athletic study halls and workout facilities for our athletic teams.
When the Field House construction and Erickson Hall renovations are completed in early 2015, it will mark the final construction project of Waubonsee's 2020 College Master Plan.
Adopted in fiscal year 2002-03 by our board of trustees and endorsed through referendums approved overwhelmingly by residents of our district, the 2020 Master Plan was designed to enable Waubonsee to accommodate increased demand due to the explosive population growth anticipated and subsequently realized in many of our district's communities.
On our Sugar Grove Campus, we opened our new Campus Operations facility in 2005, followed by our new Science Building in 2006, our Academic and Professional Center in 2007 and our new Student Center in 2009.
To make access to higher education even more convenient and accessible, we opened new campuses in Plano in 2010 and downtown Aurora in 2011. This now provides students in those areas complete associate degree programs minutes from home.
Improvements to our campuses, however, are not limited only to the large building projects included in the 2020 Master Plan. A new traffic light is currently being installed at the north entrance of our Sugar Grove Campus on Route 47, and we look forward to it being operational this February. Work to renovate a portion of Weigel Hall for our new Laboratory Technology program is expected to begin later in 2014.
Renowned Chicago architect and planner Daniel Burnham said, "Make big plans; aim high in hope and work." At Waubonsee, we have not only laid big plans, but are excited to see them become a reality.