NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Construction officially began Thursday morning on a 45,000 square feet addition to Heartland Community College’s Normal campus.

The college broke ground on its Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center, which is slated to open next fall. The new space will serve 200 Heartland students enrolled in its Manufacturing and Technology programs.

It will also be home to the school’s Electric Vehicle Energy Storage (EVES) Training Academy.

President Keith Cornille said the college did a study in 2019 that showed an increase in demand for a workforce proficient in electric vehicles.

“This will be one of the first facilities in Illinois for training on electric vehicle and battery technology, so we’re very excited about that,” said Cornille. “Our friends at Rivian have been very helpful in helping us working through what that needs to look like.”

The advanced manufacturing center will also house programs that teach skills in electronics, HVAC maitainence and robotics careers.

The EVES program has around 20 students currently enrolled, with another 20 or so who work at Rivian taking part in an apprenticeship program.

Local elected officials, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and other community stakeholders took part in the ground breaking ceremony.