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WIU leaders see dream becoming reality
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Photo: Todd Mizener
Western Illinois President Jack Thomas
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Joseph Rives, Vice President, WIU-Quad Cities
MOLINE -- "Together we dared to dream." So wrote Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas and Joseph Rives, vice president, WIU-Quad Cities, in a letter to the many who supported the creation of the college's new Quad Cities Riverfront Campus.

The dream became reality at a ribbon-cutting and grand opening held Jan. 17 at the campus on River Drive in Moline. Located on the site of the former John Deere Tech Center, Phase 1 of the campus houses the College of Business and Technology and all undergraduate programs, academic and student services, and university administration. The 60,000-square-foot structure cost about $18.2 million.

At the January dedication, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the state will be providing $39 million in construction funds for the next phase of the campus.

Mr. Rives said the university hopes to break ground about Labor Day. He expects construction of the five buildings to take about 14 months, with a January 2014 opening.

"We are just so excited to begin the immediate expansion into Phase 2," Mr. Rives said.

The five interconnected buildings of Phase 2 will house the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, Fine Arts and Communications, and WQPT public television and the Graduate Study Center, he said.

Rusty Walker, an associate for Phase 2 architect Holabird & Root, Chicago, said the goal is to create the sense of a campus. So, he said, they divided the 100,000 square feet of space needed for Phase 2 into five interconnected buildings to create a quad. Three buildings will be built at the front of the campus, facing the river. One will be the library, which will be connected to a classroom building, which will be connected to a second classroom building by a skywalk, he said.

Behind them will be two more connected buildings -- a student union with a curved glass atrium to mimic the Phase 1 building and an administration building. Mr. Walker said this will become the "front door" to the campus, facing RiverTech Boulevard, which will be built this year behind the campus.

A walkway is planned between the two classroom buildings, leading to River Drive and the Mississippi River. Plans also call for a large clock tower, he said.

Mr. Thomas and Mr. Rives stated in their letter to supporters that the current annual economic effect of WIU-Quad Cities is currently more than $10 million. "Phase 1 will generate $20 million in annual economic output, 135 new (non-WIU) jobs, labor and business income of approximately $9 million, and public revenues in excess of $2 million.

"Opening Phase 2 will generate $47 million in annual economic output, 300 new (non-WIU) jobs, labor and business income of $21.4 million, and public revenues in excess of $5 million."

Mr. Thomas said the grand opening of Phase 1 was a great day in the history of the university and the culmination of a plan which started nine years ago with Deere's donation of the property and the generosity of the Moline and John Deere foundations.

Looking to the future, he added, "We will keep the momentum going."





Jack Thomas

"We will keep the momentum going."



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  Today is Wednesday, April 16, the 106th day of 2014. There are 259 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Yesterday some bold thief stole a full bolt of calico from a box in front of Wadsworth's store, where it was on exhibition.
1889 -- 125 years ago: A team belonging to Peter Priese got away from its driver and made a mad run across the Rock Island Bridge. The driver was thrown from his seat but not hurt.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Carlton Taylor was appointed district deputy grand master for the 14th
Masonic District of Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Moline's million dollar municipal airport was dedicated to air transportation and the national defense by Lt. Gov. John Stelle.
1964 -- 50 years ago: THE ARGUS will be election headquarters for Rock Island County tomorrow night, and the public is invited to watch the operation. The closing of the polls at 6 p.m. will mark the start of open house in the newsroom. Visitors will see staff members receiving, tabulating and posting returns.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Few bricks actually tumbled, but no one seemed to mind as about 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the formal start of demolition at the site of a downtown civic center.




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