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Local News

JJC waiting on state funds for City Center Campus

Building still on target for 2016 opening

Workers glaze windows on sixth floor of Joliet Junior College City Center Campus facility on Friday.
Workers glaze windows on sixth floor of Joliet Junior College City Center Campus facility on Friday.

JOLIET – Joliet Junior College expects to finish the first phase of its $58 million City Center Campus project by the end of the month.

The college, meanwhile, is still waiting on the Illinois Legislature who will provide more than $25 million in grant money that would be used to build out the interior of the building.

The exterior and core of the six-story, 96,000-square-foot building are basically done, with some glazing work and landscaping still to be completed, said Rick Lyman, the college’s manager of construction and facility planning.

Completion was initially planned for January, but work was delayed by snow and subfreezing temperatures, Lyman said.

Inside the massive blue and white structure at Chicago and Webster streets, all the basics are in place: subfloors, utilities, even a working elevator. Concrete still needs to be poured for the base of the first floor, but that won’t happen until final water and sewer hookups are made during the buildout phase of the project, said Neil Wisker, project manager for Mortenson Construction.

Outside, new sidewalk and curbing will be added, as well as a few trees along Chicago Street, Lyman said.

The second phase of the project, which will complete the interior of the building, won’t begin until next year.

JJC still is waiting for the state to provide its $25.5 million share of the funding, though the Illinois Community College Board, to finish the project. City Center has been on the ICCB’s project funding list for more than a decade, and is the No. 1 project on the list.

However, state legislators still have to appropriate capital funds for the project.

The college plans to wait for funding until the state Legislature finishes its lame duck session next January, college spokeswoman Kelly Rohder said. If funding isn’t made available by then, the college will use its own internal funding to complete the project, she said.

“One way or another, it will be built,” Rohder said.

Completion is planned for mid-2016.

The new building will house the adult education and literacy department, workforce development and the college’s renowned culinary arts program.

In addition to classrooms, the building will house a large cafeteria on the first floor, with another large dining and public area also planned for the second floor.

The building incorporates many state-of-the-art concepts, as well as elements of Joliet history.

The building’s massive windows, for instance, take advantage of “daylight harvesting” to help reduce lighting costs, Rohder noted.

Bricks from the White Store, the building that was torn down to make room for City Center, will be incorporated into the entrance as an homage to the history of the site, Rohder said.

The building’s western side will link into the first floor hallways of the Renaissance Center, as well as into the second-story ballroom, providing access to the school’s culinary arts kitchens.

The college eventually plans to renovate the Renaissance Center. The adjoining building to the north, the former Sheraton Hotel, will be demolished and the space used for parking.

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