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City Center Campus Groundbreaking Ceremony Held Jan. 22
Joliet Junior College held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new City Center Campus building on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at the Renaissance Center facility in downtown Joliet. More than 100 people were in attendance.
The college will start construction on the core and shell of the building this spring, which will be built just east of the Renaissance Center at the intersection of Webster and Chicago streets.
The six-story, 96,000 square-foot building will include space for the following programs: workforce development, GED/ESL training, adult education and culinary arts, all programs that have a direct impact on improving employment opportunities for JJC students and community members.
“We could not do this without the support of our partners at the city, county and state levels—so we thank them for their belief in us and their investment in education,” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jeff May. ”This is a project that we believe will not only increase access to education for many citizens in our district, but will also transform the landscape of downtown Joliet.”
May also expressed gratitude to the citizens within the district who supported the 2008 referendum. “Funds from that referendum will go toward this project,” he said.
Dr. Debra Daniels, president of JJC, opened the ceremony recognizing several special guests and elected officials who were in attendance, including:
- Tom Giarrante, Mayor of Joliet
- Larry Walsh, Sr., Will County Executive
- Herb Brooks, Will County Board speaker
- Margo McDermott, Will County Board member
- Denise Winfrey, Will County Board member
- John Gerl, Joliet City Councilman
- Terry Morris, Joliet City Councilman
- Jan Quillman, Joliet City Councilwoman
- Mike Turk, Joliet City Councilman
- Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Senator, 49th District
- Larry Walsh, Jr., State Rep., 86th District
- Pat McGuire, State Sen., 43rd District
- Jim McFarland, Troy Township Trustee
Several members of the JJC Board of Trustees were also present, including Jeff May, Andrew Mihelich, Susan Marie Klen, Daniel O'Connell, Robert J. Wunderlich and Student Trustee Keith Bryant.
In addition to Dr. Daniels, Trustee Jeff May, Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante and Greg Werner of Mortenson Construction— which is contracted to build the building’s exterior— spoke at the event.
Mayor Giarrante said that the college’s plans for improving the downtown campus and a new intermodal transportation facility that will be built in Joliet at the same time both are significant milestones in the revitalization of downtown Joliet.
Demonica Kemper Architects designed the structure that will include a two-story, light-filled, glass-enclosed lobby designed to welcome students and visitors to the facility, and also include a new restaurant located adjacent to Chicago St. for the public to access.
The design includes many sustainable technologies and is also targeting LEED Silver certification though the United States Green Building Council.
“The building will be a contemporary expression of the vitality that it will bring to the downtown community,” said Dr. Daniels.
In lieu of an outdoor groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Daniels and JJC board members dug into a chocolate cake replica of the construction site made especially for the occasion by culinary arts professors and students.
“This campus serves a broad demographic through the programs currently housed here, like our Department of Adult Education and Literacy, Workforce Development, Culinary Arts, and of course, through the many special events hosted by the Renaissance Center,” said Dr. Daniels. "We are excited to continue to not only continue to offer these services, but to also now expand our offerings through the increased space and state-of-the-art facility this will be. “
The building is expected to be completed and ready for students in two to three years.
JJC Celebrates Completion of Natural Sciences Expansion
More than 100 people attended the grand opening of JJC’s Natural Sciences Expansion on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the Main Campus.
See photos from the event
The event, which marked the completion of the sixth major building project in JJC’s master plan, opened with remarks from President Dr. Debra Daniels, Trustee Jeff May, Vice President of Academic Affairs Valerie Roberson, Legat Architect Jeff Sronkoski, and Natural Sciences Department Chair John Griffis. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the building and a reception followed.
“This is a meaningful occasion on many levels,” said Dr. Daniels. “We’re celebrating the profound commitment and hard work of our faculty and staff and our partners in the design and construction process. We’re also celebrating that our students now, more than ever before, have increased learning opportunities in new labs and classrooms in a space that more than doubled the size of the former building, allowing us to offer more courses each term. This is vital. Every student seeking an associate degree from Joliet Junior College will need to complete courses in Natural Sciences, making our offerings in this area—biology, chemistry, geography, astronomy, and physics—critical.”
Altogether, the project includes a 37,000 square-foot addition which mostly consists of labs and a 23,000 square-foot renovation of existing space that expands some labs and converts others to classrooms and offices. A renovated corridor on the first floor connects the addition to the expanded prep area in the existing building.
See photos of the project
Infrastructure renovations include new ductwork, lighting, power/data, as well as plumbing upgrades. Renovated labs and classrooms include new flooring, ceilings, casework and equipment.
In total there are 21 labs, 10 classrooms and expanded prep areas for biology, chemistry, physics and geology that now allow classrooms to be solely dedicated to learning.
The project is supported by funds from the $89 million building bond referendum that voters approved in Nov. 2008.
“Through various funding strategies, we have successfully constructed top-of-the-line learning environments, said Trustee Jeff May. “With this project in particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the taxpayers in our college district. Because of their overwhelming support for our 2009 referendum, funds from that measure were used to construct this space. This is a much-needed transformation.”
New Art Gallery to Open this Fall; Part of J-Building Renovations
After nearly 35 years, the Laura A. Sprague Art Gallery is relocating from the third floor of J-Building to the college’s former bookstore on the building’s first floor.
The new space is almost three times the size of the old, said Joe Milosevich, JJC fine arts professor and gallery director.
In addition to the larger size, the gallery is also equipped with a storage area—an amenity the prior space did not have.
“The larger space will be especially beneficial for student shows like the annual high school exhibit and the juried student show,” Milosevich said. “More students will have the room to show more of their pieces.”
The new space is also more accessible than the former, he said. Located at the main entrance into J-Building, the gallery will be easier for visitors to find. In fact, the gallery hours will be extended during theatre productions and concerts for guests to visit during intermissions.
“The new gallery has been a long time coming. Since I started here in 1979, there has talk about expansion, said Milosevich. “I’m very excited about it. It’s a wonderful room and it’ll be a beautiful space to show.”
The first exhibition is scheduled for mid-September. For more information, contact Rita Monroe at (815) 280-2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
J- and K-Building Renovations Will Expand Music and Theatre Programs
As part of the Master Plan’s goal of increasing academic space at the college, the music program will be tripling its space this fall when renovations on the third floor of J-Building are complete.
The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) accredited program has been operating with very limited space the past several years, making scheduling and adding new classes difficult.
The program will now be gaining a recording lab, classrooms, practice rooms, band and choir rooms, storage, and faculty offices in the space that formerly held the library.
“The added classrooms and improved rehearsal space is very exciting,” said Charles Morgan, associate professor of music at JJC. “We have also added a recording studio so that we can expand our program offerings to include digital recording and media.”
One feature that has been incorporated in the new space is additional layers of drywall and sound batt insulation, which will greatly reduce sound transmission between walls. The new music program location also includes “shelled space” that will allow the program to expand as needed in the future.
The theatre program will be also be expanding when a new black box theatre opens this fall on the first floor of K-Building in the former band room space. The 70-75 seat auditorium will provide a space for more intimate theatre productions. The first play in the black box theatre will be held in October.
Facility Services Building Receives LEED Gold Certification
Joliet Junior College’s Facility Services Building was recently awarded LEED-NC Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first building of its kind at a higher education institution in the nation to receive this level of certification.
Designed by Legat Architects and constructed by Gilbane Building Co., the Facility Services Building’s new mechanical and electrical systems resulted in a 42% reduction in energy use and an annual savings of approximately 37% in operating costs.
“The Facility Services Building really embodies JJC’s commitment to sustainable leadership,” said Larry Bacher, Gilbane’s project executive for the JJC effort. “The college used some of the most innovative methods available to reduce the building’s overall impact on the environment. With its high-performance technologies, the facility is showing the return on investment in terms of operational costs.”
View photos from the grand opening event
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Sustainable elements of the building include:
• Geothermal HVAC system to reduce heating and cooling loads
• Reflective roof surface to reduce heat gain
• Solar heat collectors tied to outside air intake to minimize the amount of energy used to heat the inside of the building
• Use of LED lighting in all areas of the building
• Motion sensors for lighting in occupied spaces
• Operable, high-efficiency windows to improve ventilation and bring in fresh air
• More than 75 percent of construction waste diverted from landfills
• Use of recycled and locally sourced materials during construction
• Low-VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants used in all spaces of the building
“We always work to find the most efficient, cost effective means to operate while acting in an ecologically responsible manner,” Kelly Rohder, JJC spokeswoman, said. “The Facility Services Building is a symbol of the college’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental respect.”
The 42,500-sq.-ft. building, the second building completed in JJC’s Master Plan, consolidates JJC’s custodial, maintenance, environmental safety, planning/construction, roads/grounds, and facility scheduling staff. The new building replaced 42-year-old temporary buildings that had previously housed the Facility Services functions.
The Illinois Capital Development Board provided the funding for the Facility Services Building as part of the 2009 Illinois Jobs Now program. The project put 150 people back to work and invested 8.81 million dollars in the community.