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College of DuPage approves $30M for new instructional building

GLEN ELLYN – The College of DuPage Board of Trustees appropriated $30 million in reserve funds at its June 26 meeting for construction of a new instructional building.

The building will be on the west campus and is estimated to be 75,000 to 100,000 square feet, according to a news release from the college.

Though there are no specifications yet, the preliminary concept includes a large number of 35-seat classrooms and a small number of 25-seat classrooms. The building would also include two 50-seat science classrooms, four 25-seat computer classrooms and a 25-seat computer lab.

Additional spaces expected to be included in the proposal are offices for two associate deans and 15 faculty members, an adjunct faculty work center, a student commons area, a multi-purpose room and a food option, according to board documents. There will also be an open space for future development.

There is no timeline for the start – or completion – of the project. Vice President for Marketing and Communications Joe Moore said the board will receive input from faculty and administrators to determine specific plans for the new building, including what classes will be placed there.

The board set aside $33 million in reserves at its March 20 meeting for the potential construction of such a facility, board documents stated. The money from the college being spent on the project will come from its reserve fund, rather than the $168 million referendum passed by voters in November 2010, which has been used to fund many college construction projects in recent years.

The $30 million from the college is expected to be supplemented by $20 million from the state, for a total project cost of $50 million. In the event the state does not appropriate additional funds, the board would re-examine the proposal.

"We would then revisit the project and see if we would need to scale the project down while still meeting our educational needs," Moore said.

The project is being considered due to larger class sizes resulting from an increase in enrollment, according to Moore. In the spring 2014 semester, the College of DuPage had an enrollment of 28,000, he said.

Moore estimated some buildings were at more than 90 percent capacity between the college's peak hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The potential for future increased enrollment numbers is being considered in the proposal.

"We believe this new building would accommodate continued growth," Moore said.

The Board of Trustees approved the funding of the project by a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Kathy Hamilton providing the lone dissenting voice.

Hamilton wanted more concrete numbers on how many students the building would accommodate and how administrators could be sure enrollment would continue to increase.

"For me, this is not enough information for $30 million," Hamilton said at the meeting.

Hamilton also suggested the college rent a space for additional classes.

Trustee Kim Savage said it would be better to start plans on a building now, rather than waiting until enrollment numbers actually begin to rise.

"If we wait long enough until we actually need it, we'll be in a hard place to get it done," she said at the meeting.

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