The scenery is changing at Illinois Central College. A new greenhouse has been added to the Horticulture Land Lab. We broke ground for an addition to our Agricultural and Industrial Technology Building. And a new sculpture, "Bridges and Reflections," provides an artistic accent to our campus. Each of the three projects represents a unique investment in our central Illinois community.
The greenhouse addition updates ICC’s current capabilities. The new addition includes state-of-the-art controls, a potting room, office, and storage areas. The project was funded using Illinois FIRST funds and brought to us through the efforts of our state representative, David Leitch, and Gov. George Ryan. This project represents our state’s confidence in our educational programs. Funding directly from the state is one way Illinois Central College can pay for building new structures to enhance learning.
In October, we broke ground for a 41,000-square-foot addition to the Agricultural and Industrial Technologies Building. The expansion creates needed lab and classroom space to train people to meet the growing needs of industry and manufacturing. Projections for our local economy show that in the future these jobs will be in demand.
The project is funded through contributions by the State of Illinois, industry, and private citizens. Lee and Mary Morgan provided $1 million toward the project. The Morgan School of Industrial Technology will be housed in the new addition.
Caterpillar Inc. will provide $1.2 million in equipment loans and $600,000 for the building. Cat’s generous donation means our students will work on some of the world’s finest equipment. By experiencing Cat equipment, our students not only will be prepared to work for central Illinois’s largest manufacturer, but will understand the significance of creating high quality equipment.
The State of Illinois provides the rest of the funding—$9 million supports this and the greenhouse additions. Why would the state invest in these projects? Because community colleges have an outstanding record of keeping their graduates in state and close to their home districts. More than 75 percent of college students educated at ICC remain in our area to work and raise their families. That means the money taxpayers invest in community college education, for the most part, returns to the state as people take jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the local economy. No other system of higher education in Illinois can make that claim.
Finally, the sculpture "Bridges and Reflections" by internationally known artist Ilan Averbuch, was completed in November. The work was commissioned through a grant from the ICC Education Foundation. All funds for the project came from private donations.
These three projects represent the best of cooperation among government, industry, and private citizens. By funding the advancement of Illinois Central College, the people of central Illinois have not just invested in bricks, mortar, and art, but in the future of our own community and our own citizens. IBI