College of Lake County officials presented a closer look at their plan to turn the former Lowe's store at Rollins Road and Grand Avenue in Gurnee into the college's first Advanced Technology Center.
The center is designed to be a place for students to earn degrees in machining, manufacturing, welding, fabrication and industrial maintenance. College officials offered board members and the public a look at designs by Waukegan-based Legat Architects.
Richard Ammon, the college's dean of the engineering, mathematics and physical sciences division, said one goal for the center will be to encourage the community to be interested and excited about modern manufacturing.
"We want to reinforce the modern image of manufacturing, moving away from the stereotype of dark, dirty and dangerous to that of a clean, high-tech, safe, high-skilled and high-wage profession," Ammon said.
Plans call for the center to have an open, industrial feel. It will feature a V-shaped atrium that officials said will provide a wow factor while remaining a functional gathering space for students.
The center will be light on traditional desk and chalkboard learning spaces; most learning will be done through hands-on training with the some of the same machines used at modern manufacturing plants.
Plans call for construction of a second-floor mezzanine on the front section of the building. The second floor will have classroom and workshop space and great views of the atrium and the learning spaces.
CLC President Lori Suddick said the new center will help the college offer more highly sought-after programs, such as industrial maintenance, which the college does not currently offer.
"We're not currently producing graduates to meet many of these industry sector areas, so the goal is to continually advance against it," Suddick said.
The project cost is not yet set, but officials have a $20 million budget for phase one, which includes spaces for the industrial maintenance program and others.
Officials said they hope to have 20% of the phase-one costs covered by donations.
College administrators will return to the CLC board soon with the exact financial figures.
No votes were taken by the board after the presentation, but the response from the board was positive overall.
The goal is for phase-one construction to finish April 15, 2022.