Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2011, 2:58 pm

Editorial: BHC still cutting edge

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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus

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Black Hawk College held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Sustainable Technologies Building at the campus in Moline on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. The Black Hawk College board of trustees and other local officials attended the ceremony to mark the beginning of construction, which is expected to be finished in April 2012.
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As we celebrate the wonderful progress toward a full-scale Western Illinois University Quad-Cities Riverfront campus, threatening to get lost in the shuffle is welcome growth of an institution that is the very bedrock of Q-C public higher education:

Black Hawk College.

Recently officials broke ground for construction of a $3.7 million Sustainable Technologies Building at the Moline campus that should be completed in April. College president Gene Gardner said that the classes in the "cutting edge" building should begin next summer or fall. That's appropriate at an institution that has throughout its existence worked hard at looking ahead to what the community wants and needs.

It's hard to find a Quad-Citian who didn't either go to Black Hawk College or know someone who did. The institution wears many hats. Among its major duties is to help ease four-year-college-bound students' financial stress, help non-traditional students return to the classroom and train and retrain workers to fill the jobs that keep the Quad-Cites economy humming.

It serves area citizens and employers in numerous and varied ways.

The addition of the technology center is just one more of those ways. The college's first new building in four decades will provide the space necessary to obtain the area's first materials-technology degree, according to Rose Campbell, executive vice president and vice president for instruction/ITS. College officials say the effort was made possible through the vision of Ms. Campbell. We're lucky to have such a visionary who understands the exploding need for trained professionals in green technologies.

Students will attend one of the 13,000-square-foot building's two high-tech labs, sit in one of its 40-seat or 24-seat classrooms, use its materials science, and sustainable technologies lab or its instructional wind turbine. The ecologically minded construction features a geothermal field to heat and cool the building, solar thermal heating to supplement the hot water heater and a green roof. Immediately, students can expect to see 14 new courses, the new materials science technologies degree and three new certificates -- polymers and plastics, ceramics and glass, and metallurgical technologies.

The new building, courses and program shore up Black Hawk College's already solid foundation. We salute all who are making it happen.