Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2012, 12:03 am

BHC transfers land for planned dormitory

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By Anthony Watt awatt@qconline.com

Student housing dominated a Thursday night forum on Black Hawk College's master facilities plan.

Every five years, BHC must submit the plan to the Illinois Community College Board. The new plan — which BHC trustees hope to vote on in June — will includea proposed 114-bed three-story student apartment complex, a community center and a parking lot west ofBuilding 3, below the parking lot just south of 34th Avenue and north of the baseball diamond and college track.

The college would target student athletes, international students and out-of-district commuter students as potential residents for the dormitory.

To facilitate the project, the BHC board approved a land transfer of about four acres to the Black Hawk College Foundation during a special session Thursday night. State law prohibitsa community college from owning or operating student housing. The foundation would contract with Bluffstone, LLC, a private developer, to build and operate the complex.

The vote was unanimous, with trustee John McCooley absent.

Earlier this week, BHC Vice President of Administration Mike Phillips said the site was chosen because it was large enough for possible expansion, and its proximity to the rest of campus and its services and amenities.

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

This would not be BHC's first experience with housing, Mr. Phillips said. In the 1990s, an 83-bed apartment complex was built for Black Hawk East near Kewanee.

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

Some Thursday night said they did not want to lose the track. Several of the eight people attending the meeting, including Moline Mayor Don Welvaert, questioned who would live in the complex if it failed as student housing.

"That's a real concern, gentlemen. It really is," he said.

Mr. Phillips said the developer's lease would restrict tenants to single students of good academic standing; families and nonstudents would be prohibited. He also saidthe agreement would allow for the site to be cleared and returned to open space again if it failed as housing.

Mr. Phillips and Dominick Demonica, of Demonica Kemper Architects, said several sites on the BHC campus were scouted, but the others did not adequately match the college's criteria.

"There was a process of looking at this from a planning perspective," said Mr. Demonica.