Originally Posted Online: Sept. 06, 2011, 6:19 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 07, 2011, 10:29 am

Construction begins at BHC

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By Laura Anderson Shaw, landerson@qconline.com

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Photo: Aaron Facemire
Black Hawk College board of trustees members Dorothy Beck, Mike Boland, David Emerick, Donna Frye and Evelyn Phillips participate in the ceremonial ground breaking for the Sustainable Technologies Building at the Moline campus on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. The building is anticipated to be completed in April 2012 and will include the use of geothermal and wind technologies.

MOLINE -- Construction on a $3.7 million Sustainable Technologies Building at Black Hawk College should be completed in April, officials said at a Tuesday groundbreaking ceremony.

College president Gene Gardner said classes in the "cutting edge" building should start next summer or fall.

Rose Campbell, executive vice president and vice president for instruction/ITS, said this will be the college's first new building in four decades, providing space and technology for the region's first materials-technology degree.

The 13,000-square-foot, one-story building will include two high-tech, 40-seat classrooms; a 24-seat classroom; a materials science lab; a sustainable technologies lab; an instructional wind turbine; a geothermal field to heat and cool the building; solar thermal heating to supplement the hot water heater; and a green roof.

College public relations specialist Holly Smith said the project will be funded with $1 million from the Illinois Jobs Now Bill, and the remainder from a bond sale. The college will recoup $23,000 through MidAmerican Energy's Commercial New Construction program.

Officials credited Ms. Campbell for being a prime visionary behind the project.

Ms. Campbell said that after the Sustainable Technology Certificate program was created a couple of years ago, the college reviewed its engineering and technology curriculum and asked what she would do if funds were available.

With a "wish list" in her head, she said she started working with a BHC alum and titanium expert, and the idea grew for a new two-year degree and plans for the technologies building and curriculum.

Officials said the curriculum -- which will complement existing engineering and sustainable programs -- will be based on what will support business and industry. Programming also will be available to homeowners and small businesses interested in sustainable fields.

Michael Rivera, dean of instruction and student learning, said the additional space will be a "launching pad" for 14 new courses, the new materials science technologies degree and three new certificates -- polymers and plastics, ceramics and glass, and metallurgical technologies.

Mr. Gardner said demand for these skills is growing rapidly.

Elected officials on hand for the groundbreaking included U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona; state Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova; state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan; state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline; Moline Mayor Don Welvaert; East Moline Mayor John Thodos and Silvis Mayor Bill Fox.

The new building will be between Building 2 and the softball field.