Lake Land plans for renovation, expansion at Effingham campus | Education | #education | #technology | #training

MATTOON — Lake Land College has begun moving forward on financing the construction of a Rural Development Technology Center workforce training facility adjacent to the Kluthe Center campus in Effingham.

Lake Land President Josh Bullock said the college hopes to open the Rural Development Technology Center, which would also house the Effingham Regional Career Academy high school vocational program, by late 2024 if current supply chain issues in the construction industry do not delay this project.

To finance this project and other capital improvements, the Lake Land Board of Trustees voted Monday night to authorize the district to ultimately issue up to $16.1 million in general obligation debt certificates. Bullock said the college plans to pay back this bond issue in installments during the course of four years using existing revenue sources and without increasing its property tax level.

“We always try to make sure we pay back our bonds in four years,” Bullock said. “It allows us to develop a plan and manage it over time.”

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Bullock said the design of the Rural Development Technology Center is still being finalized, including whether or not it will be attached to the Kluthe Center building. He said this new facility will be comparable to the Mattoon campus’ Workforce Development Center, which has open lab space, classrooms and offices. He said the financing will also cover renovations to the Kluthe Center, landscaping improvements to the Mattoon campus, and modifications to the Field House there.

Regarding the new Career Academy space on the Effingham campus, Bullock said this facility will help enhance the academy’s vocational training programs for more than a dozen participating high schools in the region. He said the Career Academy and the Mattoon School District’s planned LIFT regional high school vocational training facility will offer courses that will minimize any overlap.

“We think they are really going to complement each other,” Bullock said. “It’s creating even more opportunities for students in our school districts”

In other matters, the board voted Monday night to authorize a real estate purchase and sales agreement for Lake Land’s possible purchase of 30.1 acres from Phillips Investments, LLC of Charleston for approximately $620,000.

Bullock said the possible agreement is for the purchase of ground that Lake Land already farms as part of its agriculture education program. If purchased, he said the land would continue to be farmed and would be available in decades to come if the college needs to expand. He said if a purchase offer is accepted, it will be brought back to the board for a vote.

Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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