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DACC renovates campus, expands into Hoopeston

Danville Area Community College strived to improve the students’ learning experience this year with a newly renovated Mary Miller Center and an expansion of the college via a proposed satellite campus in Hoopeston.

The newly renovated Mary Miller complex was dedicated in October and, at the same time, honored a longtime area legislator.

Black, a DACC alumnus and former administrator at the college, was honored for his efforts in securing funds for campus improvements during his 24-year tenure as a state representative.

The renovation project originally entailed two phases, but thanks to the careful oversight of the project by DACC’s Director of Administrative Services Mike Cunningham, enough state funds were left to add a third phase.

The first phase entailed an 8,700-square-foot addition being constructed on the north side of the center to accommodate the new locker rooms, the multipurpose room, an athletic conference room, a training room and some storage space.

The second phase, a 3,900-square-foot addition to the southwest corner of the center, added a vaulted-ceiling foyer entrance with modern light fixtures, three new offices and six new classrooms.

Jacobs described the new classrooms as “state of the art.”
In June, the DACC Foundation received $206,000 from the Hoopeston Area Healthcare Foundation, which is concerned with health care and promoting education in Vermilion County. About $156,000 of the $206,000 donation will provide scholarship support to students from Armstrong-Potomac, Rossville, Hoopeston, Cissna Park and Hoopeston, as well as employees from health care facilities in those towns, who are pursuing education in health-related fields.

The remaining $50,000 of the gift will have a major impact on providing access to higher education to students in the northern portion of DACC’s district.

DACC officials acknowledged there is a large number of students from the north end of DACC’s district who have limited resources and possibly haven’t pursued higher education because they don’t have reliable transportation.

The satellite campus “will cut down on transportation time and the expense of traveling for the students,” Jacobs said, adding, “I’m convinced we will serve more people as a result of the extension site.”

The idea for a satellite campus was hatched in 2008 when Jacobs met with Hoopeston leaders who told her they were interested in a satellite DACC location.

By 2009, the idea of a satellite campus was one of the top priorities at a DACC board of trustees’ planning retreat, Jacobs said.

DACC will lease the building from the Hoopeston Regional Health Center for a nominal fee. The walls between the small offices in the building will be torn down to create four large classrooms, including a computer lab and two restrooms.

Building renovations are expected to cost $150,000, while equipment should cost about $71,000 and operational costs, which will be covered by DACC, will be about $86,000.

The Hoopeston City Council voted unanimously in June to give DACC $30,000 from Tax Increment Financing district funds for the new Hoopeston campus.

contributed by “BY CAROL ROEHM Commercial-News”

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