Kaskaskia College held a ceremony marking the groundbreaking for the expanded Trenton Education Center on Friday, May 31 at the Trenton Center. Construction and renovation at the site is expected to begin June 3 to expand the Trenton Center from its current 3,800 square feet to nearly 16,000 square feet of instructional space, including new classrooms, computer and nursing labs, and an Industrial Occupations area.
Dr. James Underwood, President of KC, recognized and thanked those in attendance, many of whom have been instrumental in the planning and fundraising efforts for the new Center, which is funded by a combination of bond extensions approved by the KC Board of Trustees along with private donations. “The vision of this project started several years ago to continue to make education accessible and affordable to its residents. We are happy to report that we have raised $1.1 million for the campaign thus far,” Dr. Underwood said, “but we still need one hundred thousand to complete the funding for phase one. The Board is moving forward with groundbreaking with faith and confidence that the remaining funding will be raised.”
Dr. Underwood also praised the City of Trenton for its generous donation of the building which houses the Center and an adjoining lot. “The City of Trenton has made property donations totaling $511,000 to this campaign,” he said. “We are very grateful that the city recognizes the value of educational opportunities in the region and have gone above and beyond to support this project.”
Kyle Jones, Trenton’s Mayor, took to the podium to emphasize the importance of the new Center to the economic wellbeing of the area. “How does this college benefit our area?” Mayor Jones asked. “Beyond what it does by offering the opportunity for education to our students locally, this college is an opportunity for growth in the region. This isn’t just about Trenton. It is about the benefit to Western Clinton County.”
Vice President of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Dee Boswell, presented the history of the College and the Board’s total support for expanding the Trenton Education Center.
Mike Conley of the Trenton Sun, Chairman of the Trenton Steering Committee, emphasized the good an expanded college presence can have on the area. “Studies have shown that higher education leads to regional economic growth,” Conley said. “Businesses and jobs come where there are well trained and well educated people.”
Trenton Education Center Director, Arlene Covington, specially thanked State Farm agent Herb Schlarmann, who has agreed to allow space in his office to house some of the Trenton Center functions while construction is ongoing, as well as the local high schools and churches for allowing use of their space for classes.
Kellie Henegar, KC’s Dean of Arts and Sciences and chair of the design committee for the new space, walked the attendees through the expansion, highlighting changes to be made for phase one and ongoing plans for more programs to migrate to the Trenton Center.
Dean of Technical Education George Evans made a point to recognize the officials of local governments in attendance, including the mayors of New Baden, Germantown, Aviston and Breese. “Kudos to you for recognizing the value of this facility to all of Western Clinton County,” Evans said.
Plans are for the Center to re-open in the Spring 2014.