Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by Brig. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, to tour the Readiness Center construction project on the campus of Heartland Community College in Normal. The $19.7 million Illinois Army National Guard facility included $8 million in construction funds from Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and is supporting 100 construction jobs. Once the project is complete later this year, 22 full-time and approximately 200 part-time servicemembers will work out of the Readiness Center.
"This new Readiness Center will help our National Guard to respond to emergencies here in Illinois and across the country," Governor Quinn said. "It will also create good local jobs and support the local economy while educating our students and soldiers."
The Readiness Center will house the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, formerly based in Chicago, which includes several units with capabilities designed for domestic emergency missions. These include search and extraction teams, chemical, nuclear and biological decontamination units, as well as military police, firefighting, engineer and communications units. The facility provides easy highway and airport access to aid in statewide response.
The newly designed facility is designed to achieve LEED Silver sustainability level certification and has approximately 56,000 total square feet, including 18,000 square feet of shared space. There are eight classrooms Heartland Community College will use on weekdays. Heartland is considering several courses and programs for the facility, including law enforcement training, a traffic safety school, truck driver training, first-responder training and enhanced continuing education culinary classes. Heartland will allow the Illinois Army National Guard to access its auditorium, fitness center and classrooms during the Guard's training assemblies.
The federal government provided $11.4 million in military construction funds. The new Readiness Center will receive approximately $2.8 million in federal funds each year, $2.7 million of which will be invested in the Normal and Bloomington area. The college contributed $376,000 toward the facility.
"We are looking forward to the completion of this project and the relocation of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from Chicago to Normal," Brig. Gen. Daniel Krumrei, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard said. "This partnership with Heartland Community College leads to a multitude of benefits, such as shared resources and new relationships, for both our Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers and Heartland students. It is this type of community relationship that enables us--as the National Guard--to help our neighbors, protect our state and defend our nation."
"The College is pleased to have been a part of the collaboration and planning with the Illinois Army National Guard and the State of Illinois in this endeavor, and we anticipate a continued excellent working relationship in the future as we share this facility and the resource it provides to our community and the Guard," Heartland Community College President, Rob Widmer said.
The Readiness Center project was managed by the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) using the Single Prime Contract method of construction. The general contractor was River City Construction Company of East Peoria.
"Single Prime Contract projects like the Readiness Center mean one firm is responsible for making sure all portions of the work are on time and on budget," CDB Director Jim Underwood said. "This is a method used by 47 of the 50 states and when it's been used in Illinois we have seen fewer delays, legal claims and costly change orders, all while protecting the rights of smaller contractors to bid on state projects."
Heartland Community College serves approximately 6,000 credit students each semester as well as over 16,000 community residents in its Continuing Education classes each year. The campus is also home to the state's first publicly funded LEED Certified building--the Workforce Development Center, one of 52 Challenger Learning Centers nationwide, a commercial grade wind turbine, and a professional baseball complex and team as a result of private-public partnership