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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, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.






(More History)