OGLESBY — Undaunted by frigid breezes and overcast skies on Saturday, hundreds of supporters, employees and elected officials witnessed a new era at Illinois Valley Community College: The unveiling of the 80,000-square-foot Peter Miller Community Technology Center.
“We take great pride in having the word community in our name, and for the next 89 years our pledge to you is we will always respond to the needs of the community we serve in this magnificent new building,” IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said at the grand opening.
Early on in the program, Corcoran credited State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and former State Sen. Gary Dahl (R-Granville) for helping to secure 75 percent of the project’s construction funding from the state.
Miller Group Charitable Trust representative Joyce McCullough, who along with Cathy Miller, facilitated a $1 million capital campaign gift to name the building in memory of Peter Miller Jr. and his son.
Peter Miller III, said, “When Jerry Corcoran, Reed Wilson and Fran Brolley invited us to lunch a couple years ago, I had no idea it would lead to something as grand as this.
“If you tour this facility, I think you will see what great opportunities it has to offer everyone in our communities – the communities the Millers spent their lives serving.”
Cathy Miller said, “I know Peter and Pete would be so very pleased to be a part of this. If they were here with us today, they would be the first in line for the tour. They both were so passionate about new technology. We can think of no better way to commemorate their memories than through the Peter Miller Community Technology Center.”
Corcoran also praised other major donors: 1982 IVCC alumnus and machine tool industry leader Dan Janka for the donation of a $300,000 vertical milling machine; Bill and Dian Taylor of Winnetka, $100,000; 1951 LPO Junior College alumnus Ralph Scriba of Palos Verdes, Calif., $50,000; and 1971 IVCC alumnus Jim Kozel of Laguna Nigel, Calif., $20,000. Kozel, a native of Oglesby, attended the ceremony with family.
He also gave special recognition to Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema for leading the construction project and to Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Workforce Development Sue Isermann for directing the purchasing plan for technology and equipment.
American Federation of Teachers Local 1810 President Mike Phillips also credited area legislators for their support of the college in Springfield and praised the skilled work of local building tradesmen.
Executive Director of the Illinois Capital Development Board Jim Underwood lauded building contractor George Sollitt Construction Co. of Wood Dale for completing the building 30 days ahead of schedule.
The project, part of $30.5 million in enhancements that also include demolition of east campus temporary buildings, received $22.8 million from Gov. Pat Quinn’s “Illinois Jobs Now!” capital construction program.
Following a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, guests were taken on guided tours led by administrators and student ambassadors armed with iPads to assist their knowledge of the new environment.
The ceremony began with a flagpole dedication by Student Veterans Association representative Yvette Lucas of LaSalle, a flag presented by the Marine Corps League and the National Anthem sung by IVCC Chorale Director Norm Engstrom.
Accommodating IVCC’s increasing demand for high-tech, high-growth programs, the CTC will house labs and classrooms for computer aided engineering and design (CAD), computer networking, electronics, industrial electricity, manufacturing, industrial maintenance, wind energy and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC).
Continuing Education including the Business Training Center, Adult Education and Project Success will also call the CTC home as will student services such as counseling, admissions, financial aid and career services.
With geothermal heating and cooling, IVCC expects to achieve LEED Gold certification, a testament to its energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly design.
Mautino drew a laugh when he said not everything at IVCC has changed since he attended in the early 1980s. “Before the ceremony, I took my mother down to the cafeteria and saw students were still playing euchre on the same tables I played on.”
In closing, Corcoran said, “generations of students have benefitted because they attended IVCC and generations will follow.”