Originally Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2012, 10:11 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 23, 2012, 10:30 am

BHC proposes student housing

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Photo: Black Hawk College, Altered by Kermit Stevenson / staff
Black Hawk College is considering a three-story, 114-bed dormitory with a community center and parking lot. The site is large enough -- a total of about four acres -- for eventual expansion, if that is deemed necessary. BHC also is planning a Health Science Center, a 28,000- to 30,000-square-foot structure focused on fields such as nursing and physical therapy

The Black Hawk College board is expected to vote this week on a measure that could lead to a student residence hall at the Moline campus.

BHC is considering a three-story, 114-bed dormitory with a community center and parking lot, Mike Phillips, the school's vice president of administration, said. The dormitory would target student athletes, international students and out-of-district commuter students.

"This has been a discussion that has been around Black Hawk for many, many years," he said. Some BHC students come in from as far as Quincy.

Four recent forums have discussed the dormitory project, he said. On Thursday, the board will address a proposal that give control of two-and-a-half acres of the campus to the Black Hawk College Foundation so the foundation could partner with a developer to construct and operate the complex, he said.

Illinois law does not allow a community college to own or operate housing, according to Mr. Phillips and Jennifer Timmons, of the Illinois Community College Board.

The proposed site is west of Building 3, below the parking lot just south of 34th Avenue and north of the baseball diamond, where the college track is, Mr. Phillips said.

The site was selected because it met several criteria, including proximity to the rest of campus and its services and amenities, he said. It also is large enough — a total of about four acres — for eventual expansion, if that is deemed necessary.

"It just seemed to fit all of our criteria," he said.

Although still used by some faculty, staff and area residents, the track has not been regularly maintained for some time, Mr. Phillips said. There is no official count of users and, as of Monday, there has been no discussion of replacing it, although there has been talk of revitalizing the campus walking trails.

If approved Thursday, BHC hopes to complete the project by next fall, he said. Presented to the board last week, the proposal was tabled until board members could talk to the project architects, Mr. Phillips said.

He noted other Illinois community colleges now offer student housing. Ms. Timmons said the trend likely is to meet the needs of commuter students from significant distances.

She said she could not cite how many community colleges have housing complexes, however, because they are not directly owned and operated by community college districts and do not have to be reported to the ICCB.

BHC also is planning a Health Science Center, a 28,000- to 30,000-square-foot structure focused on fields such as nursing and physical therapy, Mr. Phillips said. The building will be south of Building 3 and east of the residence hall site.

The board has not approved a concept yet, he said, and the goal is to present one to trustees in December for approval with hopes of seeking bids by summer.

Mr. Phillips said BHC has also begun work on a master facilities plan, required every five years by the ICCB. BHC is working to incorporate the dormitory and health science building projects into that plan, he said. Work also has included research on how the locations of various departments fit together, how space is used, what departments are or could grow and how to handle that growth.

A public forum on the plan is scheduled Thursday, with more meetings set for Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. A steering committee then will prioritize forum input and information with a plan expected to be presented to the board in June, Mr. Phillips said.




BHC's Thursday meetings

The Black Hawk College Board of Trustees will meet at 5 p.m Thursday, in the Black Hawk Room on the Quad-Cities Campus of Black Hawk College, 6600 34th Avenue, Moline.

The master facilities plan forum is planned for 7-8:30 p.m. in Conference Rooms 1 and 2 in Building 4.