Urban Farm Center moves forward

Rendering of the Urban Farm Center Published April 20, 2023

College of Lake County (CLC) will officially move forward with the Urban Farm Center at the Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan.

The Urban Farm is part of the Lakeshore Campus vision to create a vibrant urban campus environment with mutually beneficial experiences between the college, students and the community meaningful to those the college serves.

“The approval unleashes amazing potential to achieve public good, spur economic growth and increase community vibrancy,” said CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick.

CLC plans on raising $15 million in private funding for the construction.

The construction will be on a 31,494 square foot lot located at the corner of N. Sheridan Rd. and W. Madison St. The proposed building is 23,582 square feet.

The Urban Farm Center creates a facility with learning and growing space that engages the CLC community, creates a resource for Waukegan residents and serves as a destination for Lake County and beyond.

The Urban Farm Center will host indoor growing areas that will facilitate training in hydroponic growing and greenhouse production and provide diverse year-round supply of locally grown food. It will also provide access to space for local entrepreneurs to process and distribute local food.

The college also will convene partners to create a "VeggieRx" program providing access to locally grown fresh produce and nutrition education for community members.

The design of the Urban Farm Center complements Waukegan’s downtown character which includes a diverse mix retail, kdining, government and education spaces.

The lab and instructional areas will include:

  • Indoor controlled environment vertical production space growing lettuce and herbs
  • A hydroponic greenhouse for crops like cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers
  • Microgreens production
  • Mushroom production
  • Multi-purpose classroom
  • Instructional/demonstration kitchen
  • Retail space featuring locally grown and produced food

CLC has had a presence in Waukegan for 52 years with its opening of a center in 1971 and the full campus in 1981. CLC has made cumulative investments in the last five years of over $50 million in downtown Waukegan.

CLC has a commitment to sustainability, and the Center is planned with a minimum goal of LEED Bronze and will include bird safe windows, an important feature because of the migratory birds that fly through Waukegan.