The dedication plaque at the entrance to the Crisp Technology Center is unveiled. From left to right: KC Board member Jim Beasley, College President Dr. Jim Underwood, Harry Crisp II of Pepsi Mid-America, KC Board Chair Bill Hawley and KC Board member Dr. Dee Boswell.
Pepsi Mid-America CEO Harry Crisp II lauds community colleges during dedication ceremonies of Crisp Technology Center.
Kaskaskia College has cut the ribbon to officially open the $2.9-million dollar expansion and renovation of the Crisp Technology Center.
Dean of Career and Technical Education George Evans says the renovation and expansion will allow all of the vocational programs to expand. Board Chair Bill Hawley called it another truly great day for Kaskaskia College.
"Once again we have been able with the help of the community and friends, and donations and the hard work of all of the staff, to renovate this building and bring it to a state of the art facility that can provide jobs for people in a limited amount of time and put them to work being very productive citizens of this area," said Hawley.
The Chief Executive Officer of Pepsi Mid-America, Harry Crisp II, who donated the building to Kaskaskia College in the 1990's after Pepsi no longer needed it for a warehouse, was at the ceremony. Crisp was heavily involved in the the Illinois Community College Board for a number of years.
"I would see people who were single mothers that were waitresses that would get the opportunity to become an RN or other positions and it was just wonderful to see where people had opportunity if they wanted to put out the effort to do so. And that is why I'm sold on the community college system," said Crisp.
Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby noted the importance of the vocational programs.
"In order to retain employees and in order to have the success of future employees for the city of Centralia and community around we have to have this type of vocational training. This is the only way possible is through this type of training we can have that. The flexibility and the efforts of all the partnerships they are developing with all the industries this is the only way we can do this and be a market place for for future manufacturing services in the state of Illinois," said Ashby.
Salem Mayor John Raymer headed the campaign to raise $250,000 in cash and in-kind donations for the project. He called it the easiest job he ever had as the manufacturers in the college district welcomed getting involved with the training programs.
"While we have seen the high school programs suffer over the last several years, we see the community college emerging as the place that has stepped into the vacuum to fill the immediate need but also to provide the leadership that it is going to take to move us onto meet all of those needs of all of our manufactures and create the number of workers we need as our plants are expanding," said Raymer.
Kaskaskia College's Vice President of Instructional Services Dr. Greg Labiyak called it a long awaited and proud day.
"I think we can safely say viewing this day very much as a beginning. A beginning of this drive toward reaching the full potential of our programs and for our students here. The programs that will make available the very latest technology on a continuing basis so our students when they leave this place so they are completely ready for the ever changing 21st century workplace," said Labiyak. "Programs that maximize their relevance for all the employers of our area and even beyond."
The project was started in May of last year and is one of number of building projects being completed around the college district to enhance educational opportunities.
The ribbon is cut to officially open the renovated and expanded Crisp Technology Center.