City Colleges line up state funding for Truman student center

  • By Peter Sachs
  • Staff Writer
  • April 09, 2009 @ 7:00 AM

The City Colleges of Chicago will soon get state dollars that had been promised for expansion projects at Truman College in Uptown.

A state bond sale earlier this week means that $15 million will become available for construction of a new student center and parking garage at Truman. Construction is already underway on the projects, which overall will cost $55-million.

Previously, there had been some confusion about the state contribution --  the community college district assumed the money would be coming, but the state didn't have the funds available.

The state sold $150 million in bonds Tuesday, says Capital Development Board spokesman David Blanchette. The money is split between the board, which oversees public construction projects, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

“We do appreciate the willingness of the contractors on the Truman College project to wait for the bond sale and stay at work,” Blanchette says.

It’s unclear exactly how much the contractors are owed for foundation work that’s been done so far, but Blanchette says the state will start cutting checks next week.

Elsa Tullos, the City Colleges’ spokeswoman, called the new bond “good news.”

In other good news, community colleges across the state could see extra federal dollars next year. The budget proposal being considered by lawmakers for the budget year beginning July 1 includes an extra $9 million in federal stimulus money, says Ellen Andes, the chief financial officer for the Illinois Community College Board.

“I never thought I’d get excited about $9 million,” Andres says. “But all things considered, you know, regular agencies are taking a cut...so $9 million is a substantial increase for the community college system.”

It’s too soon to say how much of the additional $9 million the City Colleges would see, or exactly how each of the 39 community college districts in the state would spend their shares.

The $9 million isn’t set in stone because lawmakers are still reviewing budget proposals.

Andres is optimistic the extra funding will make it into the final version of the budget.

“There’s only a few places where there’s increases, and we would be one of them,” she says.

 

Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18, or peter [at] chitowndailynews [dot] org.

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