Construction of a new Allied Health building at Rend Lake College could be starting soon thanks to $5.3 million in funding from the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.
RLC was one of 15 Illinois community colleges to receive funding for building projects, Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office announced late last week.
"With health care being one of the cornerstones of our region, we are proud to partner with the governor's infrastructure initiative that allows Rend Lake College to expand its offerings and opportunities for students in the various allied health fields," said RLC President Terry Wilkerson.
RLC has been in the hunt for a new Allied Health building for the past several years. The college submitted the project as a top priority in the 2019 Resource Allocation Management Plan. As RLC's health care courses continue to grow, so has the demand for more classroom space.
The proposed plan for the 21,500-square-foot building includes classrooms and labs for training and study. Plans also call for classrooms that can be combined to create a large lecture hall where the college could hold special meetings and conferences. There will be additional office and storage space along with lounge areas.
To make the project a reality, the RLC Board of Trustees committed a $1.7 million match.
Overall, $103.5 million will be dispersed by the state to expand existing facilities and construct new buildings at campuses across Illinois.
"Community colleges are vital hubs that provide advanced and continuing education, career and technical training, distance learning and workforce development," Pritzker said. "As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the economy of every state in the nation, it is more critical than ever that we continue to invest in the state's educational institutions so they can continue to provide resources that advance livelihoods and spur the economy. The return on this investment of over $100 million will be far greater, as these institutions provide close-to-home educational opportunities and the promise of a better future for Illinoisans throughout the state."
The Rebuild Illinois capital plan estimates an investment of $45 billion in roads, bridges, railways, universities, early childhood centers and state facilities over the next six years, creating and supporting around 540,000 jobs over the life of the plan.