Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu December 17, 2009
Governor Announces WIU QC Capital Funding
Moline, IL – Work should begin next Spring on Western Illinois University's new riverfront campus in the Quad Cities.
Wednesday morning in Moline, Governor Pat Quinn announced $14 million from the capital bill will be used to renovate the former John Deere Technical Center on River Drive along the Mississippi.
"I hope they'll look back and say 'boy, those folks really had their eye on the future,'" says Quinn. "Their eye on good jobs that have good wages and good benefits that you can support a family on. Because that's what universities and public universities are all about. They're job magnets."
WIU President Al Goldfarb says the 60,000 square foot building will houze Western's College of Business and Technology, academic programs, student services, and offices.
"We know that our new campus will really enhacne the regional economy by attracting graduating students who will really be positioned to thrive in an ultra competitive global market," says Goldfarb. "We believe we're developing the right programs to work in that market and work in that global economy."
State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) says it will be the first phase of the 62 million dollar plan to move Western's campus to the riverfront.
"This was a community project," says Jacobs. "All the way from the plumbers and the pipefitters to the laborers to my friends in business to people in education. It's so important, because it's not only going to keep our kids here, but it's going to bring new kids in."
At least one new building is included in the plan for art, science, education, human services, and communications programs.
WIU's Quad Cities campus currently has about 1,400 students enrolled in classes, held mainly at the former IBM building on 60th Street in Moline. The university hopes to increase enrollment to 3,000.
If all goes as planned, Western hopes to break ground on the first phase in March.