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Suburban Chicago community colleges making plans to spend millions on bricks-and-mortar expansion

Chicago Tribune
Growth at several northwest suburban community colleges hasn't just been limited to enrollment: Campus facilities also are swelling to accommodate the larger number of students seeking alternatives to traditional four-year universities.

Elgin Community College, McHenry County College in Crystal Lake and Harper College in Palatine have spent or have made plans to spend millions on bricks-and-mortar expansion.

Students returning to Elgin Community College in January will see a new library — three times the size of the old building — and other improvements as a $178 million long-term capital plan is brought to life.

The two-year college has used the funds approved through a 2009 referendum measure to complete several projects, all varying in scope.

Also opening next semester is a 139,000-square-foot health and life science building, which will house nursing, radiology, biology and other related programs, said Paul Dawson, managing director of construction projects.

The old library and health science buildings will be remodeled for more classroom space and other purposes, he said.

Sharon Konny, vice president of business and finance, said officials hope to break ground on a public safety and sustainability center next summer at an undisclosed location in Burlington. Konny said the community college is still negotiating to buy property in the nearby village on the western portion of the school's boundaries.
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