Eight years after voters approved a capital improvement referendum, construction is underway at the College of DuPage. Crews are working on several projects that will add up to about 180 million dollars worth of infrastructure improvements, including the renovated Berg Instructional Center, a new health and science facility, and the Homeland Security Education building.
“We really have a smorgasbord of activity,” said Dr. Robert Breuder, President of the College of Dupage. “All of it really has to do with the concept of workforce development. We know that we’re a critical player in providing the human resource needs of business and industry in DuPage County.”
The state of Illinois has not provided any capital funding for such projects. So college officials have turned to DuPage tax payers to help fund the work. They contribute less than 1% of their property tax bill as part of the 2002 referendum. That’s about $10 for every $100,000 of their home value.
Now COD is trying to convince voters to approve another referendum for the Fall which would provide additional funds for infrastructure repair. If it passes on November 5th, residents in District 502 would continue paying that same portion of their taxes to the college, and the institution could do another $160 million worth of work.
“We’ve been wise with the use of the monies that we’ve had from the 2002 referendum,” said Chairman of the Board Kathy Wessel. “We’ve been able to provide a great deal for the taxpayers at a reasonable cost. Now we’re saying let’s make sure that the college is in good shape for the next 30 to 40 years.”
But college officials say several buildings are not in such great shape. The Macanich Art Center needs a revamped heating and cooling system, a replaced roof, a renovated theatre, and up-to-date photo labs. The Physical Education building also needs a repaired roof and could use space for additional gym equipment and storage. Money from the 2010 referendum would benefit the library as well. It would provide offices for the staff, who currently use a storage closet as a make-shift office, and administrators would also use funds to build a main entrance from the library to the outside, which it currently lacks.
All those changes – and not to mention improved parking – would help the College of DuPage accommodate more students and improve the quality of life for the community at large.
“When you change your facilities, you give yourself the opportunity for growth,” said Dr. Breuder. “That in addition to better affect teaching and learning.”
If the referendum passes, COD administrators hope to have the major infrastructure work completed within the next 5 years. For more information on the college’s Facilities Master Plan and the 2010 referendum, visit www.cod.edu.
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