Gov. Pat Quinn reaffirmed his support for higher education in signing a landmark $31 billion capital spending bill into law this afternoon that funds large construction projects across the state -- including $165 million in projects at college campuses in Chicago.
The law includes $40 million to start funding a new Chicago State University campus on the West Side, as well as $31 million for a new academic building at Olive-Harvey College on the South Side.
The law also sets aside $73 million for a new building at Northeastern Illinois University and $21 million for renovations at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
State Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-5) has been one of the most vocal backers of a second CSU campus, which he said would provide higher education opportunities for students on the city’s west side who aren’t near a school.
“Now that we have the money, we can begin looking for the location a little more diligently,” Hendon said after the bill-signing, which took place at Marshall Metropolitan High School on the West Side. “I already have some suggestions from various aldermen.”
Hendon declined to list any of the possible locations for fear of short-circuiting the process. He hopes to pick a location in the next 30 days.
“Anywhere on the West Side that works logistically without displacing a lot of people, I’m for that,” Hendon says.
The funding for the new building at Olive-Harvey will help ease the City Colleges of Chicago’s daunting deferred maintenance backlog.
The district’s proposed budget, released last week, includes $5.4 million for several smaller projects at the campus this year. That money includes renovations to science and nursing labs, as well as repairs to windows, signs, athletic fields and ceiling tiles. The district’s budget indicates $30 million will be spent on a “transportation building” in the 2010-2011 academic year.
The law signed today would allow that work to start a year early.
Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.