INA, Ill. (Aug. 27, 2020) — Months of fundraising have paid off for the Rend Lake College Foundation as the college broke ground on a major addition and renovation project for the Learning Resource Center.
The construction phase of the Hub campaign is underway as RLC officials turned over dirt with the ceremonial shovels Thursday morning on the Ina campus. The expansion will help tie the LRC to the center of campus, making it a “Hub” of learning for all students attending the college.
“Today we celebrate the culmination of years of dreams and plans to improve our Learning Resource Center. Because of the incredibly generous support of our alumni and community friends, our vision to expand and enhance the services provided to our students is becoming a reality,” said RLC Foundation Chief Executive Officer Kay Zibby-Damron.
Zibby-Damron spoke before a socially-distanced and masked audience in front of the LRC surrounded by signs showing the details of the project. RLC President Terry Wilkerson and Reference Librarian Beth Mandrell also spoke, thanking the audience and the community for the tremendous support the Hub campaign has received. Wilkerson also commended the RLC’s library staff for their initiative the past few years to plan some fundraising activities to help with the library’s updates. He said they ultimately were able to raise $15,000 through their efforts.
The project was first announced last December at the RLCF Annual Dinner by project co-chair and former RLC Foundation CEO Pat Kern. Kern said the Foundation took on the project after RLC President Terry Wilkerson shared some of the college’s needs with the Foundation Board of Directors.
“This project is long overdue. With the new entrance facing the clocktower, it makes the (LRC) more welcoming than ever before,” Kern said at Thursday’s ceremony. “We will be above the norm and that is where Rend Lake College has always been.”
Foundation Emeritus member George Slankard, along with his wife Mary, contributed a generous lead gift to get the project started in December. Unfortunately, Mr. Slankard passed away in March just as the college began seeking bids for the project. Zibby-Damron noted George and Mary, who also could not attend the ceremony, were with them in spirit during the groundbreaking.
At the August meeting, the RLC Board of Trustees approved Hunter Construction of Belleville to complete the work at a cost of $746,583. The contractor will construct a 1,935-square-foot addition on the south side of the LRC along with building a new façade to serve as the main entryway. The plans also include expanding floor space to create six collaborative learning/study rooms across the front of the library for both individual and group study. Outside, more study space will be available with the installation of solar charging tables to be placed along the new decorative walkways. The Career and Technical Education Success Center and CTE Computer Lab located within the LRC are getting upgrades as well. The Success Center and Computer Lab will be transformed into a more modern learning space to provide contextualized tutoring and other resources for the college’s technical programs. The Children’s Library area will be enhanced to provide a more robust space for future Rend Lake College Warriors to read and learn. And finally, a new Wellness Room will also be included in the project to provide a quiet and therapeutic space designed to improve the quality of student’s emotional, mental and physical health.
Construction will officially start next week. Zibby-Damron said the tentative completion date would be by the end of the calendar year.
While the physical work is about to be in full swing, there is still time for anyone looking to contribute to this monumental project.
“We are continuing to raise private support to ensure completion of the project, and are very grateful the response from our donors has been overwhelmingly positive. Our newly renovated Learning Resource Center will greatly benefit all Rend Lake College students and our community, today and well into the future,” Zibby-Damron said.
The goal is to raise all the money for construction through private charitable support. Zibby-Damron said the Foundation is very close but has not quite reached the target goal yet. Anyone in the local community is invited to contribute to this project that benefits Rend Lake College. All donors will be recognized, and donors of $5,000 or more will be listed on a special permanent tribute inside the LRC. The Rend Lake College Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3. For more information about giving opportunities please contact the Rend Lake College Foundation at 618-437-5321 Ext. 1214 or email . Donations may also be made online at rlc.edu/give-now.