JJC Celebrates Completion of Natural Sciences Expansion

More than 100 people attended the grand opening of JJC’s Natural Sciences Expansion on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the Main Campus.JJC Celebrates Completion of Natural Sciences Expansion
The event, which marked the completion of the sixth major building project in JJC’s master plan, opened with remarks from President Dr. Debra Daniels, Trustee Jeff May, Vice President of Academic Affairs Valerie Roberson, Legat Architect Jeff Sronkoski, and Natural Sciences Department Chair John Griffis. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the building and a reception followed.
“This is a meaningful occasion on many levels,” said Dr. Daniels. “We’re celebrating the profound commitment and hard work of our faculty and staff and our partners in the design and construction process. We’re also celebrating that our students now, more than ever before, have increased learning opportunities in new labs and classrooms in a space that more than doubled the size of the former building, allowing us to offer more courses each term. This is vital. Every student seeking an associate degree from Joliet Junior College will need to complete courses in Natural Sciences, making our offerings in this area—biology, chemistry, geography, astronomy, and physics—critical.”
Altogether, the project includes a 37,000 square-foot addition which mostly consists of labs and a 23,000 square-foot renovation of existing space that expands some labs and converts others to classrooms and offices. A renovated corridor on the first floor connects the addition to the expanded prep area in the existing building.
Infrastructure renovations include new ductwork, lighting, power/data, as well as plumbing upgrades. Renovated labs and classrooms include new flooring, ceilings, casework and equipment.
In total there are 21 labs, 10 classrooms and expanded prep areas for biology, chemistry, physics and geology that now allow classrooms to be solely dedicated to learning.
One of seven major construction projects in the college’s master plan, the expansion and remodeling of the natural sciences program allows the college to offer more classes in some of its highest demand areas such as biology, chemistry and physics with state-of-the-art learning resources.
“It’s alleviated a lot of the backlog for students, particularly for classes like anatomy and physiology, or Biology 250,” Natural Sciences Department Chair John Griffis said. “Because our space has grown, we’re able to offer more classes, and people have been able to register for the classes they want, when they want to take them. They can follow their plan and get on with their program.”
Sustainable elements of the LEED-Silver project include fixtures that use 20 percent less water than standard counterparts, a high-efficiency building envelope, abundant natural light throughout the building, passive solar shading and areas of permeable pavement in the courtyard that reduce storm water runoff.
The project is supported by funds from the $89 million building bond referendum that voters approved in Nov. 2008.
“Through various funding strategies, we have successfully constructed top-of-the-line learning environments, said Trustee Jeff May. “With this project in particular, we owe a debt of gratitude to the taxpayers in our college district. Because of their overwhelming support for our 2009 referendum, funds from that measure were used to construct this space. This is a much-needed transformation.”

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