NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Following a unanimous vote of approval from Normal Town Council Monday night, Heartland Community College is one step closer to expanding its campus.
The college has gotten the green light to move forward with the construction of an around $20 million agriculture-focused classroom building.
Heartland’s Director of Public Information Steve Fast said the approval allows leaders with the college to seek bids for the facility.
“If the bids come in where we’ve budgeted, then we would proceed with selecting one of the bids, and moving forward with a contractor to start to construct the facility, and we’re hoping we can do that maybe as early as late spring,” said Fast.
Fast said in working with community and industry partners, the need for expansive programming for agriculture, and for additional resources for community AG education have been at the forefront.
He added that the new facility would move around 200 credit students through on an annual basis, and support community AG programs like their dual credit classes with an agriculture component.
“We also will develop our programs for short-term certificate programs, that can move people quickly from high school, or from a secondary career through a short term certificate or a degree that can get them directly into the workplace,” said Fast.
Just last week, the McLean County Farm Bureau donated $2 million toward the facility.
Leaders with Heartland said the money will be used to develop a lab space for Heartland students, community groups, and other local students to use.
“It’s probably for us, a once in a lifetime opportunity to support secondary education in agriculture, and we see it as, hopefully hoping to keep young people in the community, and maybe not go to out of state schools, or further away in state,” said McLean County Farm Bureau President Mark Hines.
And Fast said they hope within a year to a year in a half, students will be able to begin utilizing the facilities.