McHenry County College is on track to receive $15.8 million for its new Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the college said Friday.
The Crystal Lake-based college, which is one of 15 community colleges receiving funding as part of the plan, plans to fund the remaining $6 million of the $22 million project through a combination of philanthropic donations and existing college funds already earmarked for the project, according to a news release.
A detailed timeline for the project is still being finalized, according to the release. A formal bid process to complete design plans for the 41,000-square-foot building is set for this fall.
The Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation fits into the state's efforts around expanding manufacturing programming and creating a pipeline of skilled workers for the county, according to the release. It was added to a list of projects to potentially receive funding almost 15 years ago.
“In our nationwide effort to improve record unemployment numbers, the time is now to build this space that will help create economic stimulus,” McHenry County College President Clint Gabbard said in the release. “We firmly believe that MCC’s Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation will lead to job renewal and growth for both the county and our region by offering skills that can be used for a lifetime.”
The Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation will combine "old" and "new" skills, according to the news release, allowing McHenry County College to "open its educational doors" to existing programs and new ones.
The programs that will located in the new building are include heating, ventilation and air conditioning; welding; logistics; CNC machining; engineering technology; advanced manufacturing; industrial maintenance; mechatronics; meteorology; and artificial intelligence.
“We have a vision for the (the new building) that is focused completely on connection,” Gabbard said. “This will be a hub where students gain the necessary advanced technology skills to keep our nation running, where our industry partners collaborate, and where small businesses and entrepreneurs build ideas and solve problems."
Mike Smith, the chair of McHenry County College's Board of Trustees, said he believes the center will be "an extraordinary catalyst for job skill development and economic growth throughout McHenry County."
"We look forward to seeing a diverse population of students from across our region leverage this state-of-the-art facility to develop new and innovative skills that will lead to a lifetime of success in their chosen fields of endeavor," Smith said in the release.
“A center with this prospective magnitude of economic development impact is needed now, at this very moment," Gabbard added. “The growth of our manufacturing and technology sectors, the growth of an inspired, trained workforce, and the growth of a population of individuals and families more firmly grounded in living in this state, are all at stake with long delays. MCC is anxious to play a key part in this economic progress of our county.”