Construction underway at CLC's $48 million Waukegan project

Construction has begun on College of Lake County's long-stalled $48 million project to build a new six-story building and renovate existing buildings on its Waukegan campus, the state announced Friday.

The new 62,692-square-foot building will be called the Student Center and will house support services, a library, a welcome center and a career placement office. The top floor will be a community space with uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan.

The state is funding $35.3 million of the project through the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, with the remainder covered by local matching funds.

The project's goal is to create more of a collegiate feel in Waukegan campus, which is made up almost entirely of buildings the college purchased and renovated in the city's downtown. In addition to the new construction, the project will include renovating 4,665 square feet of existing space, including improvements to the children's learning center and a science lab.

"This substantial development provides comprehensive student support services and programs in Waukegan designed to meet the regional high-demand advanced workforce needs," CLC Board Chair William M. Griffin said. "Together with Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham, we anticipate this urban campus project to serve as a catalyst for future downtown development."

The new building will be on vacant land at 34 N. Sheridan Road, adjacent to other campus buildings.

The project has been in the works for nearly a decade. In 2013, former Gov. Patrick Quinn announced the project, and CLC contracted Waukegan-based Legat Architects to design it.

The project was shelved in June 2015 because of the state's financial turmoil.

In spring 2018, the project appeared to be back on track, and Legat planned to have updated construction documents ready by July 2019. But other delays and the pandemic created further delays.

Throughout the process, officials have said once work began, the project would be completed in about two years.

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