The Alumni Hall opening only a week behind her, President Teresa Amott has refocused on new projects and pushes to continue the renovation momentum. Presenting on the deliberations of the fall Board of Trustees meeting, the president’s council highlighted the “Knox 2018 Strategic Plan” and how it will be implemented in the coming years.
“Knox 2018” contains three main goals: advancing approaches to a liberal education, creating and supporting a diverse community and addressing changes needed to aid the future of the college. Presented initially at the June 2014 Trustees Meeting, Amott said “Knox 2018” has since been “distilled and condensed” to make a more succinct plan of action. In this form, it has been officially approved by the Board of Trustees.
The first goal involves improving existing programs such as Rep Term, Green Oaks Term and open studio in ways that will enhance student experiences across curriculum. In the second goal, Amott emphasized the benefits of having and maintaining a diverse, inclusive student body, diversifying classroom styles and working on staff and faculty development, as well as engaging with the Galesburg community. The final goal touches on sustainability, including sustaining faculty and staff over the years and creating a more contemporary, sustainable campus.
One of the key ways of creating a better campus and community is by improving the out-of-date Science and Mathematics Center (SMC). The project will begin with the most costly aspect, a complete renovation of the A Core, which by itself is estimated to cost $20 million.
“We’re going to make [the core] thicker by putting [in] glass walls, building a box around the center,” Amott said. “It will bring the natural light into the building and do much of what we’ve done in Alumni Hall.”
The abundance of glass in the buildings is an effort for Alumni Hall and SMC to become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
As well as approving “Knox 2018,” the Board approved two resolutions: the Whitcomb Art Building and the Green Oaks Field Station. Last year the college received a $5 million gift from Dick and Joan Whitcomb toward a new arts building for Studio Art and Art History. Early conceptual art for the building, which will be located on Prairie Street on the eastern edge of campus, has been created with natural light in mind, similar to the other new buildings.
The Green Oaks Field Station project hopes to establish a year-round facility for environmental education and biological studies. While in its preliminary development, there is a hope that a building created on the site could be a ‘living building,’ which gives back to the environment it is located in. The firm the college is in talks with is one of the few in the nation that handles living buildings, and at this time there are no living buildings in the state of Illinois.
The college has established different ways of seeking revenue to fund these projects. Using the campus itself, the college can generate revenue by hosting summer camps or renting out venues such as Alumni Hall. Funds already received can be set aside for projects. At the college’s disposal is $400,000 from a Mellon Grant for faculty enhancement, $800,000 of funds set aside from last year and $800,000 from the State of Illinois for facilities and existing capital funds. However, most of the money will be gained through continuing fundraising efforts.
“If we are going to do the renovations we need to do for the SMC building, we can’t just wait for people’s requests,” Amott said, introducing the “Above and Beyond” initiative to openly continue fundraising efforts in the midst of the hype generated by Alumni Hall’s renovation. If all goes as projected, the funds for the initiatives should be raised by the 2018-19 year.