Governor Quinn Breaks Ground on Western Illinois University Riverfront Campus

MOLINE–(ENEWSPF)–March 31, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited the future site of Western Illinois University-Quad Cities’ Riverfront Campus to break ground on the renovation of approximately 60,000 square feet of space for the new campus that will create 2,000 new jobs and triple university enrollment. In December, Governor Quinn visited Moline to announce the funding for the $15.9 million project as part of Illinois Jobs Now!, the state’s massive jobs and construction effort.

“Today’s groundbreaking is a victory for the 1,400 students who attend WIU-Quad Cities today and the more than 3,000 students who will be able to attend classes at the Riverfront campus when this project is completed,” said Governor Quinn. “It is also a victory for all our partners – university officials, community advocates, teachers and parents – who worked tirelessly with lawmakers for many years to make this project happen.”

Despite having a regional population of more than 350,000 people, WIU-Quad Cities is the only public university in northwestern Illinois. The project will create 2,000 new jobs, generate a construction impact in excess of $125 million and support more than 100 permanent new jobs at WIU-Quad Cities.

“This unique regional coalition is a role model for the rest of the state. We have come together with a shared, common goal and through persistence and cooperation, the WIU-Quad Cities Riverfront Campus has become a reality,” said WIU President Al Goldfarb. “Partnerships are the key to moving this state forward, and I am most appreciative of our many Quad Cities partners.”

Funding for the project will help renovate the former John Deere Technical Center, the campus’ first of three buildings, which the company donated to the university. The approximately 60,000-square-foot space will include classrooms, instructional and computer laboratories, offices, faculty and student lounges, and a reception and work area.

According to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the annual economic impact of WIU-Quad Cities with a current enrollment of 1,360 students and 100 faculty and staff is over $10 million annually. A new 3,000-student, three-building campus will raise that value to more than $50 million annually and will double the number of college graduates to 500 annually.

The Governor was joined by WIU President Dr. Al Goldfarb, WIU Board Chairman Steve Nelson, U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-Moline), Sen. Mike Boland (D-East Moline) and Jim Riemer, Executive Director of the Capital Development Board.

Illinois Jobs Now!, which Governor Quinn signed into law last summer, will help revive the state’s economy by creating and retaining over 439,000 jobs over the next six years. The State has already issued nearly $2 billion in bonds to fund critical construction projects across Illinois.