Last updated 4/3/2013
Greetings for the week of March 18, 2013
Many of us are following the progress of our new facility in the Rock Island as the city continues forward with its economic development plans. On Friday, March 8, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new site. Our board chair, Evelyn Phillips, and other board members and administrators represented the college and participated in the ceremony.
The existing site that we are selling to the City of Rock Island is a part of the Watch Tower Plaza Shopping Center (constructed in 1964) and is located in what was originally a grocery store but was legally subdivided and extensively remodeled in 2003 for use as the Black Hawk College Adult Learning Center. It contains an estimated floor area of 8,496 square feet and occupies a site with an estimated land area of 29,185 square feet. The offerings at the site include adult learning classes, college credit classes, customized classes for business and industry, and continuing education classes for the community. The site includes six classrooms, four offices, a testing/conference room, a copy/file room, a staff/kitchen room, a storage/utility room, restrooms and a student lobby. The existing site is relatively small for its purpose and limits service to the community. It served 571 students (enrolled in 2012) and generated 7,038 credit hours. This location primarily serves residents of Rock Island as well as Milan and Sherrard areas.
BHC currently offers three ABE/GED classes, two ESL Workforce Skills classes for individuals impacted by Seaford and Honeywell plant closures, two Refugee Resettlement classes for refugees through World Relief, eight ESL classes (Basic to Level 4), and one High School Completion class. Due to the length of waiting lists, we also have worked with other locations within the neighborhood and offer additional ESL classes at the Century Woods, Manor Homes and Maple Ridge apartment complexes and Calvary International Revival Church. While we appreciate this collaboration, these locations are not ideal for instruction. They are not set up as classrooms, do not have technology available, and are sometimes also used for other functions while classes take place. The Manor Homes location will be demolished within the next few months. The new building will offer opportunities for expanded Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) classes and college-credit classes in Rock Island. While we have had requests for classes, we have not been able to schedule due to lack of classroom availability.
Initial discussion of the new facility was in relation to an economic development initiative of the City of Rock Island to purchase the Watch Tower Plaza Shopping Center and relocate the existing entities. The proposed new facility will provide an excellent upgrade for college programs as part of a new business park. The proposed new center is a 13,986-square-foot building located approximately one mile south of the existing building. It will serve the same purposes as the original building but will allow the college to expand offerings and services to students and the community. It includes nine classrooms, four offices, a large testing center, storage and protected areas for instructional technology, a lounge, restrooms, a student lobby and parking area, totaling approximately 1.8 acres.
The new facility will allow the college to consolidate multiple family literacy programs offered at housing units in the Rock Island area. The timing of the new facility is perfect in terms of the development of the college’s new master planning initiative that is currently progressing and scheduled for completion in October 2013.
The City of Rock Island has agreed to transfer title of land, pay $406,000 for a moving relocation expense, and pay $1,751,746.50 for the construction of a new building for the above-mentioned Adult Learning Center.