Governor celebrates student center opening

Governor Pritzker at the ribbon cutting Published January 30, 2023

Governor JB Pritzker along with local and state officials celebrated the ribbon-cutting for the new Student Center at College of Lake County (CLC). The Lakeshore Campus Student Center will enhance the student experience by providing improved services, plus state-of-the-art learning and study spaces. The 63,000 square foot building was partially funded by a $35.9 million investment through Rebuild Illinois, Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan capital plan, as well as a $12 million local match from the institution.

Governor Pritzker, CLC President Dr. Lori Suddick and other state and community leaders cutting the ribbon“This state-of-the-art facility will support student life, with every option ranging from the testing center to the library, the adult education hub to the medical office assistant labs, nursing classrooms and a phlebotomy lab,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “By combining state and local resources, we open doors for universities and colleges to embrace growth in new ways. Thanks in part to these investments, College of Lake County has been able to advance its Lakeshore Commitment: offering its students more classes than ever, and expanding program offerings in fields like manufacturing, hospitality, digital media, horticulture, and entrepreneurship.”

“Education touches us all, from the classroom to the community, and this new facility will enhance and expand that impact in Lake County,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. “Rebuild Illinois continues to provide historic investments throughout this state in a variety of areas, particularly in education where our administration is committed to broadening ways to nurture and prepare our students for the brightest future possible.”

Positioned in downtown Waukegan, the project included the addition of 46,000 square feet of classroom and laboratory space designed to enhance the student educational experience. The modern facility also integrated 15,000 square feet of support space for CLC students. The project also includes another 5,100 square feet of renovations to the Lakeshore Campus’ Children’s Learning Center and science laboratory, both of which are located in the building adjacent to the Student Center. More than 10,300 square feet was renovated to install site utilities, construct sidewalks, roadways, parking areas, and landscaping. The building also expands CLC’s ability to engage with the community by offering public access to areas of the new facility.

“College of Lake County looks forward to opening the doors to the Lakeshore Campus Student Center and celebrating with our community on this long-awaited project,” said CLC President Lori Suddick. “The building's completion results from the dedication of individuals across the college and the community. With the building's completion, the College looks forward to advancing its efforts to create the vibrant urban campus to support students and the communities of Lake County.”

The Student Center is on track to achieve U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification for its sustainability features. The design and construction were managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) in accordance with the protocol for state-appropriated projects.

“Our hardworking construction teams have ensured the new Student Center will support the academic needs of the College of Lake County students and we are thrilled to see the facility finally come to fruition under Governor Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan,” said CDB Executive Director Jim Underwood.

The Student Center houses health sciences programs including phlebotomy technician, medical assisting and nurse assisting, adult education, and English as a Second Language (ESL). The Student Center also features a library and sections for tutoring and testing. Staff at the Welcome and One-Stop Center will assist students with registration and financial aid and connect them with advisors or other student resource specialists.

The Eleanor Murkey Community Center, located on the top floor of the new Student Center, is a space for college-sponsored community engagement events, business meetings, and special gatherings. With a balcony overlooking Lake Michigan, the facility serves as a unique asset to downtown Waukegan and community organizations. Murkey was a long-time dean of the Lakeshore Campus.

“I am thrilled at the advancements being made today in Waukegan,” said State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove). "Education plays a vital role in building a thriving community and sustaining our future’s economy. The Eleanor Murkey Community Center will serve as a resource center for many in our district while providing our students with the best learning environment as they pursue their education."

“This beautiful new student center will expand opportunities and inspire future dreams for countless residents of northeastern Illinois,” said State Representative Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee). “I’m truly excited by the possibilities this expansion will create for generations to come in our community.”

"I am thrilled to see the State of Illinois making a significant capital investment in the College of Lake County,” said State Representative Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove). “CLC is a vital institution that plays a crucial role in creating jobs and opportunities for residents throughout Lake County. This investment will help sustain and expand the mission of the college, and I am excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community."

“No one is more excited than I am to see this long-awaited addition to the Lakeshore campus," said State Representative Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan). "This cutting- edge facility embodies College of Lake County’s abiding commitment to student success and is sure to enhance campus life for years to come.”

“The new Student Center at the College of Lake County is a significant addition to our community and our ongoing downtown revitalization efforts,” said Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor. “The College of Lake County is a valuable asset to Waukegan and greater Lake County, providing valuable educational opportunities to students no matter their background or economic status. I thank Governor J.B. Pritzker for investing in our students and economy by providing funding toward this project through the Rebuild Illinois Program.”

“The opening of the Student Center is an exciting time for the Lakeshore Campus,” said Lakeshore Campus Dean Jesus Ruiz. “This expansion represents more than just a building – it celebrates the success of our community. The Student Center is bringing an air of unity and collaboration to us all.”

“This is a great day for the College of Lake County, the students it serves, the City of Waukegan, and the entire county as the new Lakeshore Campus Student Center opens its doors. A huge thank you to Governor Pritzker and the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, that combined with local matching funds from CLC, made this student center a reality,” said Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart.

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969.

College of Lake County is a national leader in many areas, including campus internationalization, sustainability and conservation.

Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan provides essential funding to support the revitalization and improvement of Illinois roadways, state facilities, universities, bridges, and railways over a six-year period. The initiative seeks to address critical infrastructure and economic opportunity.