Listen to this article

DANVILLE — When Danville Area Community College President Stephen Nacco passes by the former U.S. Army Reserve center, he envisions a place where people can train for all sorts of employment opportunities, from driving forklifts to — if and when a proposed Las Vegas-style casino is built — repairing slot machines.

He and other college officials, with the help of U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, have been working on acquiring the property at 2408 E. Main St. and finally negotiated a sale price with the Army.

DACC trustees approved purchasing the property for $150,000 at a special meeting Friday.

“That’s well under the appraisal price of $198,000,” Nacco said, adding the college has already aside the necessary capital funds.

The center sits on 3.75 acres just northeast of DACC’s campus. The main, two-story, 23,000-square-foot-plus building housed barracks, classrooms, a cafeteria and kitchen, a large drill room, a basketball court and a fully functional shooting range. The other one-story building has over 4,000 square feet, three bays and a loading dock.

Nacco said the main building would need asbestos abatement, some lead-paint removal, renovation of the restrooms to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and installation of an elevator or lift to the second floor. But the garage is nearly move-in ready.

Before the purchase is finalized, the General Services Administration will issue a license allowing the college to enter the property and begin preparing it for use.

Nacco said the college will use the garage for maintenance equipment store and corporate training courses, such as forklift training.

He sees many long-range uses for the main building. Among them: criminal-justice instruction, as well as gun-safety training for the public, and security, electronic game maintenance and customer service training programs related to the casino industry.

“It’s finding out from the casino owner what they need,” Nacco said.