JOLIET — Wayne King said he’s waited 30 years for a building like the Multipurpose Facility to come to Joliet Junior College.
King, who leads the college’s athletic department, was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the 80,836-square-foot structure Tuesday. The two-level building will feature two basketball courts, athletic competition space, portable batting cages, an indoor track, conditioning space, bleachers and athletic staff office space.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for 30 years,” said King, who’s also head baseball coach for the school. “I can’t wait to see it … start coming out of the ground. It’s going to be a huge plus for our athletes, our recruiting, for our coaches, for campus-wide. Everybody coming out and using the facility. It will be outstanding.”
College officials, students and local elected leaders were also celebrating the groundbreaking of the Multipurpose Facility because it will offer space for graduation.
College President Debra Daniels said the facility will allow the school to bring graduations back to the main campus. In the past, the college held its graduation ceremonies at Lewis University because of overcrowding and an increasing number of graduates.
“As you might know, if you have been to graduation, between 3,500 to 4,000 people attend and so it is very important to us to bring it back to campus for our families and our students,” Daniels said.
The Multipurpose Facility, along with the Romeoville campus expansion, are priority projects for the school’s Master Plan. College officials intend to fund the construction of both undertakings with a $45 million bond issuance and a $4 capital assessment fee increase.
Officials have said completion of the Multipurpose Facility is slated for 2017.
Dominick Demonica, of Demonica Kemper Architects, who worked with the school on the project, said the facility will be a venue for major college events such as career fairs. He said it will also be a hub for community activities.
The facility will be an anchor for the west side of the main campus, he said.
Demonica said LEED certification will be pursued. Skylights will also be considered, he said.
College board trustee Michael O’Connell said he is excited to see the project progress and that it is overdue. Trustees have invested a “great deal of modernization in the college’s infrastructure,” he said.
“This project is one of the final pieces of the puzzle for this campus,” he said.
He hoped those outside the school use it as well.
“We want to try to attract community members – thousands of community members – to come in and maybe rent this gymnasium for soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball, things of that nature,” O’Connell said.