CLC begins work on $89 million Advanced Technology Center in Gurnee
Work is underway to convert a former Lowe's store at Rollins Road and Grand Avenue in Gurnee into the College of Lake County's first Advanced Technology Center, which school officials say is positioned to provide 40% of the county's skilled labor force in the next five years.
The center is designed to be a place for students to earn degrees in machining, manufacturing, welding, fabrication and industrial technology. It will feature training with some of the same machines used at modern manufacturing plants.
Once completed, the ATC is expected to double the number of students CLC can teach in fields like robotics and advanced manufacturing, according to the college.
The concept has been received with enthusiasm from local industry leaders and donors.
At a construction kickoff event this afternoon, the college will accept a $2 million donation from Lake Forest philanthropists John and Kathleen Schreiber. The college hopes to raise about $5 million for Phase 1 construction.
Among industry leaders voicing support for the project is Andrew Warrington, the CEO of Waukegan-based United Conveyor Corp. He called the center the missing puzzle piece to creating Lake County's workforce of the future.
"Our talent pool is drying up," Warrington said. "But the ATC will enable us to rapidly increase our pool of skilled workers, and they'll have a clear pathway to well-paying careers."
The first phase of construction will include a welding and fabrication lab, space for the new industrial technology program and a V-shaped entrance atrium that officials said will provide a "wow" factor while serving as a gathering space for students.
Phase one is expected to cost $34 million, officials said, and work should complete in July 2022.
A planned second phase of construction would include learning spaces for advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics on the north side of the first floor and in a second-floor mezzanine. Officials estimate the second phase would cost $55 million. CLC spokeswoman Lindsey Nemcek said the timing of phase two has not yet been determined.
Earlier this month, the CLC board completed a $50 million bond issue, part of which will fund the ATC.