Governor calls CLC project an investment in state's future
The project to enhance College of Lake County's Waukegan campus will be "a shining example of what we can achieve when we invest in our future," Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference Wednesday to commemorate the start of construction this week.
"This is an investment in our future economic well-being," Pritzker said. "How Waukegan goes, so goes the state of Illinois."
The long-stalled $48 million project includes a new 62,692-square-foot Student Center building, which 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.
It also includes renovating 4,665 square feet of existing space at the Waukegan campus, including improvements to the children's learning center and a science lab.
CLC President Lori Suddick said the project is an investment that continues the college's effort to ensure equity in academic access and success for Lake County residents.
"It is a place to create a vibrant, urban campus environment in the heart of Waukegan fostering mutually beneficial experiences between the college, the students and its community partners," Suddick said at the news conference in Waukegan.
The state is contributing $35.3 million of the cost through the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, with the rest covered by local matching funds.
Pritzker said the $45 billion capital plan is the first the state has passed in 10 years and will fund important projects like the Student Center in Waukegan.
"The needs existed before pandemic. And even in a pandemic, especially in a pandemic, we must invest in our state's future," he said. "The number one way to create a stronger future is investing in young people."
The new building will be on vacant land at 34 N. Sheridan Road, adjacent to other campus buildings.
It has been in the works for nearly a decade. In 2013, former Gov. Patrick Quinn announced the project, and CLC contracted Gurnee-based Legat Architects to design it.
The project was shelved in June 2015 because of the state's financial turmoil.
In spring 2018, it appeared to be back on track, and Legat planned to have updated construction documents ready by July 2019. But other delays and the pandemic meant the construction was put off further.
Throughout the process, officials have said once work began, the project would be completed in about two years.