Spoon River College will receive state funding to help complete the next phase of the East Jackson Street campus in Macomb.
SRC President Curt Oldfield said the funding will allow the college to renovate a portion of the building for career and technical education courses and provide programs the college has never offered before.
“It really is a game-changer for Spoon River College in terms of workforce preparation,” Oldfield said. He also said this will allow the college to greatly increase the number of students in those courses.
The funding comes from the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan. SRC will receive $6.1 million from the state and match that with $2 million of its own money.
“We’re fortunate to be in a fairly strong fiscal position so I’m convinced we’ll find a way to find our match. I don’t know the exact path we’ll use to get there but in the next few months we’ll hopefully get an answer for that,” Oldfield said.
He said architectural and engineering designs will take a while so it might be the fall of 2023 before the new section of the building opens for classes.
SRC plans to eventually move its Macomb campus from the former high school building at South Johnson and West Washington Streets to the East Jackson Street building, which once housed stores.
Currently the Jackson Street facility is home to the school’s Community Outreach Center, which occupies about a third of the building. The career and tech programs will fill another third, leaving roughly one-third of the building still unfinished. The college hopes a combination of state money, bond revenue, and local fundraising will pay for completing renovations at the building.
SRC is one of 15 community colleges to receive funding from the Rebuild Illinois plan. The state is spending a total of $103.5 million on the projects.
“I knew (the funding plan) had passed in 2019 and I knew the Legislature had given permission to sell the bonds. But to be honest I didn’t think it was going to be happening this quickly,” Oldfield said.
One of the other Rebuild Illinois projects is also in western Illinois. Carl Sandburg College will receive $422,700 to resurface a significant portion of Tom L. Wilson Boulevard on its campus in Galesburg.
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