SOUTH HOLLAND | About 80 percent of the cost of constructing a new allied health facility at South Suburban College to train future health care professionals will be paid for by a state government capital construction program, Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday.
The governor was at South Suburban College to announce the $41.6 million in funding that will be provided by the state Illinois Jobs Now! program. Total cost to build the 100,000-square-foot facility at the South Holland-based college campus is estimated at $52.5 million.
Quinn said he thinks using the program to provide grants to help educational institutions improve their facilities is a worthwhile use of state money, particularly if it trains people to provide needed services in the future.
In the case of South Suburban College, the proposed new structure will provide laboratories and classrooms for programs in nursing and allied health professions such as pharmaceuticals, medical diagnostics and medical administration.
Quinn cited the health care reform measures pushed for by President Barack Obama, saying that people trained in such programs will be providing the health care services.
“We have got to prepare the workers for health care jobs of the future,” the governor said.
College spokesman Patrick Rush said that existing facilities at South Suburban College cannot accommodate all the students who wish to enroll in health care-related programs. He said the new facility will enable the college to significantly reduce waiting lists for those programs. There are now more than 1,000 individuals on the waiting list, Rush said.
Quinn also went out of his way to praise state Sens. Napoleon Harris, D-Flossmoor, and Donne Trotter, D-Chicago, for their support. Specifically of Trotter, Quinn said he was the one who arranged for legislative approval for the Illinois Jobs Now! program funding.
Trotter said he thinks the program is merely a way of providing for the local communities.
“You have local officials and trustees who are committed to providing what their community needs,” he said.
Also present for ceremonies at the college where the grant was presented were Village Trustee Riley Rogers, of Dolton, and Village Presidents Norm Abbott, of Lansing, and Don De Graff, of South Holland. The latter said he believes the new medical training facility is an asset that will improve the image of the college and his home village.
“I remember the old Thornton Junior College, and it has developed into South Suburban College well beyond what I ever envisioned it to be,” De Graff said. “This college will become even greater. It makes me thankful to have South Suburban College in our community.”