Governor Pat Quinn today announced $8 million in state funding for a Readiness Center to be built on Heartland Community College’s Normal campus.
The project, developed through a partnership between the Illinois Department of Military Affairs and Heartland Community College, includes shared space that will serve as an Illinois National Guard Readiness Center while providing seven additional classrooms for Heartland’s use during the week. The project will create more than 200 additional parking spaces for the College’s use as well. Heartland will allow the Illinois Army National Guard use of auditorium, fitness center and classrooms during the Guard’s training assemblies.
“This is an outstanding partnership for everyone involved that will really help boost our local economy,” said Dr. Allen Goben, president of Heartland Community College. “Housing this public safety resource at Heartland will enhance the security of our neighboring communities and provide a great central location for any statewide emergency response that involves the Illinois Army National Guard. Likewise, it’s a great way for Heartland to gain instructional and parking space for our students so that we continue providing career, college, and life success opportunities.”
The Illinois Army National Guard will build the headquarters for the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) adjacent to existing college facilities. The 404th MEB includes several units with capabilities designed for domestic emergency missions including search and extraction teams, mass casualty chemical, nuclear and biological decontamination units as well as military police, firefighting, engineer and communications units. The facility’s placement will give the 404th MEB easy access to the highway system and airport in the central area of the state, allowing it to respond quickly to high-risk areas in the north, south and west of the state.
In addition to providing additional safety to the state, the new facility is expected to bring about $2.8 million in federal funds to Illinois each year after it is built, including $2.7 million each year to the Bloomington-Normal area.
“This project will employ more than 100 people during construction, provide educational opportunities and help strengthen our national defense once it’s complete. This is a win-win situation for the state of Illinois,” said the state’s Capital Development Board Executive Director Jim Underwood. Once completed, the facility will employ 22 full-time and nearly 200 part-time National Guard soldiers.
“This partnership allows both the Illinois National Guard and Heartland Community College to make full use of our resources to accomplish both of our missions, and allows two public entities to benefit from the same funds,” added Maj. Gen. Dennis L. Celletti, the acting Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard.
The total cost of the project is $18 million with $10 million funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the rest funded through the state’s Capital Development Board. Construction will take approximately two years. In keeping with Heartland’s commitment to sustainability, the project will be designed and completed to the LEED Silver sustainability level.
For more information about Heartland Community College, visit www.heartland.edu.