Universities set for new buildings through capital plan

Illinois Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)–As Governor Pritzker travels the state he is highlighting money that will be used for higher education.

Nearly $3 billion dollars from his $45 billion dollar plan will go toward colleges and universities, including the U of I.

U of I system leaders were very pleased with session after lawmakers allocated millions in upgrades for their campuses through the capital plan.

“We are so excited about the outcome of this year’s legislative session,” said UIS Chancellor Susan Koch. She said her campus in Springfield has big plans to use the money they are receiving from Rebuild Illinois.

“The new library and learning center for UIS is really going to make a big difference. It’s a 50,000 square foot building and it will house not only the library, but it will also include the center for academic success, our center for online learning and lots of learning spaces for students,” Koch said.

Lawmakers approved 35 million dollars in the capital plan to build the new facility in place of the current one.

“The Brookens Library is one of the oldest buildings on the campus. It’s over 40 years old. And of course, libraries on university campuses have changed dramatically. They are not the same library that my grandmother might have known,” Koch said.

The capital plan also allocates 11.6 million dollars for deferred maintenance and public safety.

U of I Urbana-Champaign is slated to get around 200 million for a new math center and quantum information center.

While UIC got a $98 million appropriation for a computer design research center.

Though Springfield received the least amount of the three campuses from the plan, Koch said the funding is a step in the right direction.

“We really appreciate this decisions. They are going to mean a lot not only to students and to the universities but ultimately, the impact of that is going to keep educated students in Illinois,” Koch said.

Once you add up all the money from the capital bill and 4.6 percent increase in funding from the budget, The U of I system walks away from this session with nearly $2 billion in funding.

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