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Local News

6-year-old grant for JJC could come this year

First day of classes on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 at the new Joliet Junior College City Center Campus on Chicago Street.
First day of classes on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017 at the new Joliet Junior College City Center Campus on Chicago Street.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “Rebuild Illinois” plan includes what some might consider long-lost money for Joliet Junior College’s downtown campus building.

But JJC hasn’t forgotten about the $25 million state grant recommended for the project as long ago as 2013.

Not only have college officials kept track of the money, they have counted what it’s worth in interest and say the original grant should now be valued at $28 million.

“Yes, the original amount was $25 million, but over time as interest has accrued the total is now $28 million,” JJC spokeswoman Kelly Rohder-Tonelli said in an email response to questions about the the grant status.

JJC officials are asking for $18 million because the college did receive $10 million from the grant in 2017.

Pritzker’s proposed capital bill does not specify how much money he is recommending for JJC.

But the plan, which has not gone to the state legislature for a vote, does include “build out and completion of Downtown City Center Campus Shell at Joliet” among projects to be funded.

Rohder-Tonelli said JJC officials “have not been told a specified amount but have provided documentation and other resources to confirm the original state grant amount.”

The money has been held up for years amid the state’s budget woes. It could still be taken out of whatever capital bill goes to the legislature.

The $58 million downtown campus building opened in January 2017 with JJC covering costs the state grant was originally expected to shoulder. The college now would primarily use the money as a reimbursement, although Rohder-Tonelli said state funding could be used for a parking area and pedestrian mall that always were part of the plans for the downtown campus.

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