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Guest Column: RVC grant should go only for what it was intended

November 7, 2012

By David Soll

Back in 1999, Rock Valley College (RVC) submitted the first of 10 consecutive yearly RAMP (Resource Allocation Management Plan) requests to the proper state authorities. The major part of this proposal was plans for an Arts Instructional Center (AIC) to be built on the RVC campus.

In 2002, part of then-Gov. George Ryan’s budget was to release funds over a five-year span to statewide community colleges to renovate, replace or build new buildings on the many campuses as an investment in higher education and to help invigorate the economies of local college towns across Illinois, including Rockford.

In March 2003, $9.6 million of that grant was allocated to the college. Once that occurred, ground should have been broken. Yet, to this day, the AIC has not been built.

In June 2008, nearly $27 million more was released from the grant, but the Board of Trustees (BoT) at the time had decided to spend that money on renovating the existing CLI and CLII instead. Again, the initial and subsequent RAMP requests were specifically aimed at getting an AIC built.

In November 2009, now-Gov. Pat Quinn visited RVC and released an additional $26 million for the building of an AIC. So, here we are today and still no AIC, let alone any groundbreaking. We have only had lots of wasted funds because of the BoT over the last decade requesting three different design models and paying the architects for them.

So today, we have a current BoT that has voted to allocate money that was given to RVC by the state with the intention of building of an AIC to instead revamping CLI and CLII, which, by all indications, do not need a $47 million upgrade. What RVC needs is an Art Instructional Center that will benefit our community and develop our future leaders.

Yet, Board President Michael Dunn claimed that the case for an AIC has not been convincing enough for him? OK, if that be the case, why not return the money? Oh, wait, let me answer that. June 30, 2011, a law was passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor that allowed the RAMP document that has been submitted since 1999 to be slightly altered. Added now is the sentence “remodel existing buildings” along with the original request for funds for the specific building of an AIC. Get it?

We are now supposed to believe that the original request made in 1999 actually asked for money to either build an AIC or remodel existing buildings. At least, this is what the majority of the RVC BoT is hoping you will believe.

David Soll is a Democratic candidate for Winnebago County Board in District 20.

From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue

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