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Governor Quinn Announces $3.8 Million Investment in Lewis and Clark Community College

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Article by: Louise Jett, ljett@lc.edu

GODFREY – Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced capital investments of $3.8 million in Lewis and Clark Community College’s Godfrey campus. The funds will help construct a Montessori Childcare/School building, maintenance building and control storm water runoff. The announcement is part of Gov. Quinn’s agenda to improve educational opportunities in Illinois, create jobs and drive the state’s economy forward.

“Lewis and Clark has a rich history of innovation and service to the Metro East area, training students for in-demand careers,” Gov. Quinn said. “These investments will improve the campus, make life easier for students and staff, and set a sustainable water management example for the Midwest.” 

“We are so pleased to receive these funds, which will allow us to replace two of our aging, temporary buildings on campus, as well as allow us to further our sustainability initiatives in storm water management on our Godfrey campus,” said Lewis and Clark Community College President Dale Chapman. “These two buildings were once established to be temporary structures, but due to a lack of funding over the years, they have outlived their intended purposes. We have outgrown both structures, and know that these funds will serve to enhance efficiencies and needed storage for our facilities and grounds crews, and will provide an ideal educational environment for generations of children.”

A new 16,000-square-foot educational and day care center building will be constructed to serve the children of Lewis and Clark students, faculty and staff. The existing 9,000-square-foot building will be upgraded and moved from the west to the north side of the Godfrey campus to improve access for parents dropping children off and picking them up. The construction will be funded with $1,663,000 from Gov. Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program and $1,705,169 from the college. Design work is currently underway, with bids to be released this fall and construction to begin in 2015.         

A new, 12,800-square-foot maintenance building will be constructed at Lewis and Clark to house the college’s maintenance, security and grounds crews and equipment. The construction will be funded with $1,536,600 from Illinois Jobs Now! and $512,200 from the college.

The construction of both campus facilities will be managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board.  

Gov. Quinn also announced a $640,000 grant from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to reduce and control storm water runoff on campus. The Lewis and Clark Community College Storm Water Runoff Reduction Project will improve campus hydrology by installing porous/permeable pavers and native trees in the Haskell Hall parking lot on the Godfrey campus, and then directing the subsequent storm water outflow through Radiating Waves, an innovatively designed structure that serves as a functional and educational demonstration bioswale. Radiating Waves will further filter storm water before it reaches the impaired Piasa Creek.

This green infrastructure improvement will help to absorb and infiltrate much of the untreated surface water runoff from the Haskell Hall parking lot and reduce the ground flow of sediment and contaminants reaching Piasa Creek via a tributary (unofficially named China Creek) that runs through campus. Faculty, students and others in the community are working together to monitor, restore and ensure the long-term health and sustainability of “China Creek” and its termini, Piasa Creek and the Mississippi River, the source of drinking water for several nearby Illinois communities.

“This IEPA supported project will improve the water quality in an impaired watershed and will educate and inform students and the community about storm water management best practices for years to come,” Chapman said. “Situated at the top of the watershed, Lewis and Clark Community College has the responsibility to be a good steward of the environment, and this grant will certainly help achieve that mandate.”

This project advances the campus master plan as well as the college’s sustainability goals, and goes hand in hand with similar efforts with local and regional partners like the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN). IGEN is a consortium of Illinois community colleges whose mission is to provide a platform for collaboration among all Illinois community colleges and their partners to drive growth of the green economy. Lewis and Clark Community College is a proud member of IGEN, and recently became the lead college for their Freshwater Resources Consortium, that seeks to “expand research, public education and conservation of the freshwater systems that are of valuable importance to our state’s economy. The college is also a recipient of IGEN’s TAA Grant that funded the creation of a Storm Water Management certificate.

Lewis and Clark is equally proud of past storm water management projects with partners like SMS Engineering and Great Rivers Land Trust, like the pool and riffle structures and storm water detention ponds that have demonstrated successful leadership in effectively managing storm water on campus. The college also installed similar pervious pavers at its rivers research station known as the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, and throughout a large parking area and along the main stretch of roadway, now known as “Eco Road,” which runs through the heart of the Godfrey campus. The Storm Water Runoff Reduction Project will further emphasize the college as a leader in this arena.

The Lewis and Clark projects are part of Gov. Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.