CHAMPAIGN — Parkland College students will have more space to meet, eat and study come summer of 2013.
The community college's board of trustees recently selected a contractor for the Parkland College Student Services Center to be built on the east side of campus.
"Our students have been crunched for space for a long time. There really was insufficient space for them to gather and study. This will provide a much better experience," said Linda Moore, Parkland's vice president for students services.
The 113,000-square-foot building will be home to offices of student financial aid, recruiting and admissions, advising, in addition to the bookstore and cafeteria. Several large meeting rooms also will be included in the space for student or faculty groups.
Construction will take about 15 months to complete; a groundbreaking date has not been set yet pending approval of the contractor from the state's Capital Development Board, Moore said.
The project is estimated to cost about $28 million. About $15 million will be paid by the state; the rest is paid by the college's bond sale proceeds. The architects are Perkins + Will out of Chicago and IGW Architecture in Urbana. Trustees chose Poettker Construction from Breese.
The building is being described as an "identifiable front door" to the college, something Parkland lacks, Moore said.
"It will look very obvious to people: This is where I'm welcome to begin. Students could apply for financial aid, get advice, buy textbooks, pay bills. We'll also have a large food service area," she said.
Right now, students go to different wings of the college to visit all those offices, "and it's a challenge to give directions," Moore said.
Designs were presented to the college last fall.
"It's going to be a beautiful building," Moore said. The design honors the current architecture of the campus and there will be lots of light and air to it.
Parkland initially planned on a two-story building, but the project now calls for a third story on a portion.
"It will be an aesthetically pleasing, yet supremely functional structure, housing our full array of student services, aligned in a coherent and navigable fashion, and designed to engage our community in learning," said Parkland President Thomas Ramage in a written statement.
The opening of the new building will free up spaces that can eventually be converted to classrooms or offices.