CRYSTAL LAKE – The City Council gave its blessing to McHenry County College’s plan to build a new $16.8 million science center.
Council members voted Tuesday evening, 6-0, to approve the final planned unit development amendment for MCC’s proposed Liebman Science Center. The discussion and vote on the matter, which sailed through the city Planning and Zoning Commission on a 4-0 vote, took about three minutes.
“Our science center is much-needed for the community because it upgrades all of our science facilities, which is in desperate need of being done,” MCC Chief Financial Officer Robert Tenuta told council members before the vote.
The 31,670-square-foot, two-story building will be built next to Building E on the Crystal Lake campus at 8900 Route 14. Besides various science labs, it will include a lecture hall, a student resource lab, prep rooms, a small planetarium and a cadaver lab, according to the college.
Construction is expected to begin this year and finish in 2018. The college announced in September that a multimillion-dollar gift from Charles and Mary Liebman would launch the capital campaign to build the new center.
The improvements meet all the requirements of the city ordinance governing the Crystal Lake watershed in which the college is located. The college’s plan does not include additional parking and, in fact, reduces impervious surface coverage, according to city records.
In its remarks, the city planning commission said it liked the look of the building, a sentiment that council member Cathy Ferguson echoed before the vote.
City Council members also allowed changes to its master sign plan to allow for additional direction signs for vehicles and banners on the poles of the ring road surrounding the college.