Editor's Note: This is the first in an occassional series about where the money from the 2008, $89 million referendum for Joliet Junior College was spent.
The campus of Joliet Junior College is relatively quiet right now. Most of the classrooms are vacant and students who are on campus are buying books, registering for fall classes or finishing up the summer semester. It is more subdued than the other times of year on campus. This is true even in the service shop, which is part of the automotive service technology program.
These days, the service shop has entire banks of open bays. But, during the year, the bays that were part of the expansion funded by the 2008 referendum, plus the additional bays in the lab are full.
"We work on 100 cars per week during the fall and spring semester," Chris Bene, Joliet Junior College Service Shop Manager said.
It was this level of work on cars that made the expansion of the bays a necessity when the 2008, $89 million referendum was passed.
The expanion included the following:
- New Commercial Shop area with 16 Service Bays
- Four New Classrooms
- Dedicated Customer Service Area
- New Parts and Equipment Storage Rooms
The students work on the cars of other students, staff and faculty at the college. They do not work on the cars of community members at large. Also, work done on the cars cannot be done by community members on their own cars.
"For insurance reasons, they can't work on their own cars," Bene said.
18 students per semester take the 108 shop class that lands them in this part of campus. Two students are assigned to a stall and are responsible not only for the repairs, but also for cleaning the bay itself.
Like many of the other improvements funded by the referendum, this project kept sustainability in mind.
"(The project was) LEED Silver Certified, with LED lighting fixtures, high efficiency HVAC equipment, skylights to use natural sunlight, and bio-trench areas for controlled discharge into sewer system," a written release from JJC stated.
Kelly Rohder, Joliet Junior College Director of Communications, said the expansion of the automotive program was done, in part, because the career field was in need of skilled workers and graduates would have a good chance of finding a job.
For more information on the project, including a time-lapsed video of the expansion, click here.