ECC may open mini-campus in Hanover Park by summer
By Dave Gathman firstname.lastname@example.org January 22, 2014 2:30PM
Elgin Community College plans to open a satellite mini-campus in Hanover Park, some 10 miles from the main campus, above, in Elgin. | Sun-Times Media file
Updated: February 24, 2014 1:12PM
ELGIN — Elgin Community College is on track to open a mini-campus along the district’s easternmost border, in Hanover Park.
Peggy Heinrich, dean of adult education, told the ECC board Tuesday that details of a lease have almost been ironed out. She said the rent amount is still to be determined, but ECC and Palatine-based Harper College would work together to rent a 10,000-square-foot storefront for three years in a mostly vacant shopping center along the west side of Barrington Road, just north of Route 20.
The facility likely would be called “The Hanover Park Education and Work Center.”
The failing shopping center is owned by the village of Hanover Park, and village officials are “ecstatic” about the possibility of getting a community college facility there, ECC President David Sam said.
ECC officials revealed last spring that they have been exploring the possibility of opening such an extension site since 2011.
Sam said Hanover Park is unique in that it is split among three community college districts — ECC, Harper and the Glen Ellyn-based College of DuPage.
“None of us has put in a concerted effort to serve that community well,” Sam admitted.
The shopping center is some 10 miles from ECC’s main campus in southwest Elgin. In fact, Sam said, it is so far out that land across the street is in Harper’s district.
Under the tentative agreement, Heinrich said, Harper would offer classes there in the daytime and ECC at night.
In addition, Heinrich said, an unemployment-fighting organization called the Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership would offer counseling programs for people who are looking for a job and who may want to upgrade their qualifications by earning a GED (General Education Diploma) or taking some college courses.
Heinrich said one snag in the project is that state officials won’t allow either ECC or Harper to offer regular, tuition-based courses at the site — only courses and training that are paid for by grants — because of questions about which college would get matching state financing.
Heinrich said courses offered would include:
English as a Second Language instruction.
GED and pre-GED courses in both English and Spanish.
Probably continuing-education classes that would prepare students to study at the main campuses for careers in fields such as nursing and early-childhood education.
All classes would be offered free to eligible students, and those who complete a GED there also would be eligible for a three-credit-hour tuition waiver to continue their studies at ECC, according to Rose DiGerlando, ECC vice president for Teaching, Learning and Student Development.
Heinrich said that if the ECC board can approve a lease in March, the workforce partnership could begin operating there as early as June 1 and classes could begin next fall.
ECC offers some courses in the Streamwood Village Hall and at some high schools within District 509 but does not have any partnerships or sites similar to the one proposed for Hanover Park.
ECC closed its Fountain Square campus in downtown Elgin several years ago. It is, however, planning to build a Public Safety and Sustainability Center in Burlington.
“We just have to monitor this closely and make sure it’s a sound project fiscally,” Sam told the board.
“It will be interesting to see if participation in the classes matches the (village officials’) excitement about us coming in,” ECC Board Chair Donna Redmer said.