North Central, Elmhurst receive state grants for projects
A future park along the Naperville Riverwalk at North Central College and a science center that needs renovations at Elmhurst College both will receive state funding.
Gov. Pat Quinn visited both private colleges Tuesday and announced a total of $4.3 million in state grants for the two projects as well as other capital improvements already completed at North Central College.
The money came from $48.7 million in this year's Illinois Jobs Now! construction program that was set aside to address the needs of private colleges and universities.
"Investing in human minds is just as important as investing in roads and bridges," Quinn said while at Elmhurst College. "That is why we are investing in the capital needs of the campus and investing in your education."
Funds given to North Central College will support environmental cleanup and part of park construction at 430 S. Washington St., a property to be developed into the North Central College Washington Street Riverwalk Park.
The site, which housed a 1930s-era commercial building until it was demolished in January 2013, needs remediation because the building once was used as a dry cleaners and an auto dealer.
The 1-acre area will become a new entryway to the campus and is designed to include a plaza, open space, signs and a sculpture honoring the college's historically strong cross country and track programs.
Private donations will be collected to fund many of the planned improvements at the park, which will connect via the Moser pedestrian bridge to the college's Bambule Riverwalk Gateway.
"This project serves to further connect the college with the city, and together we fuel a powerful economic engine for Naperville -- and the entire state of Illinois," North Central President Troy D. Hammond said in a news release.
North Central also received a $1.4 million reimbursement for eligible completed projects such as a parking lot, roof, track and bell tower repairs, replacement of the field house roof, installation of artificial turf at Kroehler Field and residence hall expansion.
Using $1.8 million it received from the state, Elmhurst College plans to expand, renovate and remodel the Arthur J. Schaible Science Center.
"This much-needed funding will help to ensure our students the kind of physical and educational environment that will enable them to thrive at Elmhurst and beyond, which in turn will benefit us all," Elmhurst President S. Alan Ray said.
Past state grant money has helped with the recent construction of a simulation center at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital as the college aims to focus on preparing students for leadership careers in health and science fields.