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Opening draws near for WCC’s downtown campus

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



AURORA — Waubonsee Community College is just weeks away from opening its new downtown Aurora campus.

Summer session classes will begin at the new site on June 6, and the college has scheduled a grand opening for the new campus on River Street for 1 to 4:30 p.m. June 3.

Opening events include self-guided tours of the 132,000 square-foot building, activities, drawings and refreshments.

“(The new campus) is going to mean a number of things for students and the community,” said Jeff Noblitt, director of marketing and communications for WCC. “This is going to really open the doors of opportunity for so many people.”

The new campus is along the Fox River between Downer Place and Galena Boulevard.

“The convenient location in the center of downtown means people can walk, ride bikes, use public transportation or drive to school and get the full measure of what Waubonsee has to offer,” Noblitt said.

Noblitt said that the new campus will be comprehensive, offering students the ability to start and finish a number of associate degrees or certificates without leaving the downtown campus. Waubonsee students will also be able to earn their GEDs, take English as a second language classes or participate in a number of workforce development programs from the new location.

“It’s a $50 million investment,” Noblitt said. “It’s really something for everyone, and I think it will be a huge asset to the community.”

Mayor Tom Weisner echoed Noblitt’s excitement about the campus’ arrival to downtown.

“We are tremendously excited about the prospect of the campus’ opening,” Weisner said Monday. “It has already done something for downtown in that it completely transformed a dilapidated block of buildings downtown to a stately and attractive building.”

But the campus means much more than just a new look for downtown, Weisner said.

“I don’t think there’s anything more important for Aurora and economic development than for the city to have educated workforce. ... Waubonsee offers both a convenient and economical way for Aurora students to get a head start and a jump on their college level education.”

The building will be open for registration starting on June 1. Registration at the college’s current downtown location will continue through May 26.

Groundbreaking for the new campus was in January 2009.

The building features Wi-Fi throughout, as well as 52 classrooms, two science labs, eight computer classrooms, a childcare center, a bookstore, a library and a number of state-of-the-art features.

“We’re very excited,” Noblitt said. “It is a full college campus in the heart of downtown. We’re happy to be opening in June on time and on budget. … I know we’ll be able to better serve community.”

WCC’s current downtown campus, at Galena Boulevard and Stolp Avenue, will close from May 27 through June 1 as employees begin their move.

For more information on the new campus, or to register for classes, visit www.waubonsee.edu.



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