Augustana College confidently expands as other Illinois schools continue to make cuts

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - While other schools in Illinois are cutting staff and programs to try and save money, Augustana College is showing off their newest expansion project.

Leaders say strong enrollment and fundraising are what makes the expansion possible for the private college.

News 8 crews were invited inside the newly expanded Hanson Hall of Science on campus.

While construction is still underway, the $8.5 Million expansion is expected to be fully ready for students and faculty to enjoy by the summer of 2019.

Leaders say despite a challenging winter, construction crews are working to complete the project on time and on budget.

The expansion is creating jobs here in the Quad Cities.

Leaders with Russell Construction, who oversee the project, say an average of 40-60 local contractors work on the project daily.

The new space will be home to the private college's growing Neuroscience and Environmental Science programs.

The building will feature state of the art technology in new classrooms, labs and offices.

Leaders say the goal is to help the college stay competitive and keep up with enrollment trends.

The expansion is one of two big projects that the college is working on.

In February, Augustana announced new programs and a new building that is going to be constructed by 2020.

A move that comes as other (mostly public) schools, such as Western Illinois University,  are cutting programs, shutting down buildings and laying off faculty and staff.

"We are investing at the time when other places are unable to, in part because we have got strong enrollment , we`ve got loyal alumni and we`ve got very generous donors," said Kent Barnds, Executive Vice President of Augustana College.

An investment into the future of the Quad Cities.


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