IC To Use IBHE Infrastructure Grant On 3 Projects

By Benjamin Cox on January 30, 2024 at 9:50am

A recent photo of Pixley Hall, an all-female dormitory, located at Mound Road and Park Street, is one of the older dorms in the lower quad.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education recently allocated $400 million to 45 private colleges around the state to help improve facilities and infrastructure in cooperation with the Illinois Capital Development Board.

The grants were a part of the Independent Colleges Capital Investment Grant Program. The goal of the program is to provide financial assistance to private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in Illinois for the construction, repair, and renovation of infrastructure on campuses.

Illinois College received $4.1 million in the program. Vice President of Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer Kent Siltman says that I.C. has plans to use the money on 3 separate projects on campus: “Those 3 projects are the renovation of the outdoor track here at Illinois College. It’s gotten some age on it, and is in need of just being resurfaced; so we submitted that as one of the program’s projects. We have a campus-wide lighting improvement program that we submitted, as well. That program is primarily a safety and risk management program. While we’ve got sufficient light on campus, much of it is getting older and, of course, as trees have grown up on campus, some of the placement of the fixtures are not as good as they could be. This past Spring we went out and asked for an updated design, particularly on the upper quad, about how we might improve lighting just to generally light the campus better to make it safer and, again, some of it is aesthetic, as well.”

Siltman says the final project is mostly about keeping the college competitive when it comes to residential students: “The third project that we submitted for their approval was renovation work at Pixley Hall. It needs updates to the HVAC system and just a general refresh of that dormitory. Our campus is one of the major selling points when we bring prospective students to Jacksonville. It is imperative that we keep it modernized, keep it up to date, and keep it competitive. Students today are looking for a bit of a different living arrangement than what we were accustomed to who went to college several years ago. We just need to remain competitive. We need to bring our facilities up to date, and that’s the largest part of this grant project pretty much across the board.”

Siltman says that the college is hedging some of its own general funds to put toward these projects to help get them completed.

Other colleges across Central Illinois also receiving grants were Blackburn College with just over $2.7 million, Millikin University at just over $5.6 million, and Quincy University at $4.2 million. Equity and student enrollment numbers were considered as a part of the grant application process.