Dave Agazzi welcomed the group and asked Legat to begin their presentation. Jeff Sronkoski introduced Alan Bombick from Legat, who has been looking at downtown Joliet with some of the city's developer clients. Jeff shared a former master plan slide for North Campus. Discussion ensued about the current state of that site and the lots and development surrounding it.
There are 40 acres, and JJC is using the eastern 20 acres. The western 20 acres is open for expansion.
Dick Dystrup stated the area across the street to the east is all being developed by the Village of Romeoville for a village hall and police department, and there will be some recreation there.
When building North Campus, the site plan reflected a 35,000 square foot building with parking to the east and a plan to expand southwest and west in three phases. In keeping with that, if we take the ten year projection from the staff at North Campus, an additional 13,000-14,000 square feet, which grosses up to 22,000 plus, will be needed. Jeff Sronkoski added he's not saying that's the right way to expand, but he's just using it as a scale factor for a ten-year study. Additional parking may be required with that expansion, and there would still be some open land left over.
Jeff Sronkoski stated he has heard on several occasions that perhaps another use for North Campus could be a special use/focus. He went back in his notes from his first meeting with Thom Price and Amy Luck from November, where some potential niches were identified as TWL and allied health and nursing.
Dave Agazzi asked if we could build up at North Campus. Tim Kosiek stated he believed North Campus was built as a single story building. Jeff Sronkoski agreed.
Gena Proulx stated she and Dave Agazzi recently met with the Romeoville village manager who informed them a proprietary college is looking at the corner of Weber Road and I-55. Their entire focus is not yet identified, but we should expect competition from them. They will have an auto body program.
Jeff Sronkoski offered the idea of North Campus having a focus of an allied health/nursing center, because there may be some consideration for development in that area for a senior housing facility. He suggested JJC consider something like that for collaboration purposes and public/private relationships.
Gena Proulx stated the Romeoville village manager has been approached by a number of people who are interested in the western 20 acres of our property. There's a strong interest on the part of the library system to have a library built. There's a funeral home that would like to expand into part or all of the 20 acres. A developer has expressed interested in property adjacent to ours to develop a lifestyle community with some housing and a little bit of shopping, and he said he'd like to work with the college and make our 20 acres into a green space, park, etc. Joan Tierney is setting up a meeting with representatives from the library system about their interest in partnering with us.
Dave Agazzi added that we've obviously had a lot of interest in that piece of land. In the past, our board expressed an interest in a public use of that property. Obviously, we'll consider all things brought to our attention, and he and Gena Proulx haven't been able to inform the full board yet about what's been presented to us so far. They'll do that at an upcoming board meeting/workshop.
Jeff Sronkoski stated Legat can't really proceed until we know what the uses will be for North Campus, so they're looking for a little direction. This is one of those things that falls in between because the master plan and strategic plan processes are happening at same time.
Bob Klein asked what the difference is between what we paid for the property and what we could sell it for. Dave Agazzi said the 20 acres is currently being leased out for farming, so we get a little bit coming in to the Foundation.
Gena Proulx stated this institution made a commitment to the community to provide some higher education there. It gets a little complicated with the fact that Bolingbrook is going to construct a higher education building, and the mayor would like JJC to take the lead. Our data shows us we can't fill that building up because of Romeoville sitting so close. So, the mayor is supportive of making North Campus a niche in allied health/nursing. Dennis Haynes will be meeting with the Bolingbrook High School to find out if there's interest on their part for dual credit to help fill up the building in Bolingbrook. We have about 900 students at North Campus from Bolingbrook, but there's no guarantee they would go to a Bolingbrook campus instead. If we keep science offerings at North Campus to go along with a new hospital in that area, there'd be no competition with offering general education at Bolingbrook. Lewis University and the University of St. Francis are also interested and supportive of a library in that vicinity.
Susan Block said it was her understanding from talks about a higher education facility in Bolingbrook in the past that JJC would be renting space from the Village of Bolingbrook. Dave Agazzi stated that is what the mayor shared with us now as well, but he didn't give us exact numbers. However, they did make it clear they wanted a long-term lease. Alan Bombick added we would have to do an analysis of what the cost is to rent the space and how that plays out against what we have coming in there from tuition. Dave Agazzi stated JJC will need a new building for the new allied health programs. That would need to be included in the analysis.
Bob Klein suggested the mayor of Romeoville would be eager to use the 20 acres for commercial reasons. Right now, there's no tax base there.
Jeff Sronkoski stated the committee may want to think of these extended campuses on a different track than the schedule for the Main Campus as we wait for some of these partnerships to develop. Dave Agazzi added that all three options should show some expansion there. Maybe one option could show an expansion that makes North Campus an all-allied health building.
Alan Bombick suggested the committee think of what value JJC has as a tenant as it conducts an analysis. A long-term lease from a public institution is a tremendous asset to a developer/owner of a building.
Mary Beth Luna stated she personally doesn't like the idea of a whole department moving off Main Campus because they would be isolated, and certain classes would still need to be held at other places. She expressed concerned about that location becoming "its own little college." She understands that proximity puts them closer to a new Bolingbrook hospital and Edwards, but they currently mainly use St. Joe's and Silver Cross, along with some use of Morris.
John Griffis asked if this would require restructuring the current building and the addition of more science/lab spaces. Michael Lundeen stated we do have some science labs there now (two), but the curriculum would drive the needs. And, if it had an allied health/nursing focus, we could specialize those classrooms to gear them towards those programs.
John Griffis added that he has taught up there for many years, and one does feel isolated when up there. On Tuesday and Thursday in the spring, the campus is empty. The parking lot isn't even one-quarter full. Would making that an allied health/nursing focus change that and fill classes?
Gena Proulx stated that an addition allows us room up there to expand to include other programs such as physical therapy assistant, dental hygienist, surgery technician, etc. The new dean position will want to see some new allied health programs. Another plus is that St. Francis and Lewis talked about the idea of a library there as something that helps them, and that pulls them in as partners. We had planned for another lab at North Campus anyway. The number of students in the nursing/allied health programs fits North Campus. She would also envision some sort of special admissions assistance there and the possibility of moving non-credit programs from City Center as well.
Dave Agazzi stated there's a financial way to look at this as well. He said he's always thought an allied health building would be a good referendum issue. We would still need to come up with the lease payments for holding general education courses at the proposed Bolingbrook higher education building, because we'd be moving them there.
Dennis Haynes stated he wouldn't doubt that a proprietary school would be looking at allied health as well, especially with the new hospital coming in.
Dave Agazzi reminded the committee that Gena Proulx had talked about the proposed library having a huge specialization in the medical field and suggested we could even partner with the new library to get a couple extra classrooms at that location.
Judy Mitchell asked if money from selling the extra parcel could be used to invest in/upgrade North Campus. Dave Agazzi stated it could.
Dick Dystrup stated the Weber Road corridor is the place to be—there's tremendous value there. We have a library district willing to spend their money for the property, which doesn't put financial burden on us if we lease/sell. Partnering with Adventist is yet unexplored. We need to have those conversations with the entire board so they get the complete picture of all the options out there. It seems like the allied health/nursing building, with a new library and hospital right there, along with the proximity to I-55 is great. If we had all these things going on out there, we could really market North Campus. We would need to get buy-in from the Village of Romeoville by "going over to Bolingbrook." We need some background work on the possibilities.
Sandy Mol asked how far North Campus is from the proposed Bolingbrook site. Dave Agazzi stated it is six to seven miles, so 10-12 minutes depending on traffic.
Alan Bombick and Steve Brubaker shared slides for City Center Campus. Discussion ensued about the current state of that site and the lots and development surrounding it. Alan Bombick has had a lot of experience with urban development with downtown Elgin, Milwaukee, Chicago, and many others in terms of environments of mixed use. He explained that we're dealing with a fairly self-contained environment at Main Campus. However, in downtown Joliet, we have to think of it differently. There are a lot of other things going on that we may want to relate to and find synergy with to become active partners with other things going on in the city.
A slide titled, "City Center Site Landmarks" included the Des Plaines River, Harrah's Casino, the Rialto Theatre, and Silver Cross Field.
Cass Avenue has begun to develop, which links aspects of the stadium and the casino. It is a heavy pedestrian- and traffic-oriented street.
Opportunity parcels were identified to the west of City Center, one of which is a sharedownership parking lot with the city. Running parallel to Cass Avenue, there's an opportunity to develop a heavy pedestrian area that leads to the river (distance is not much different than the concourse from Main Campus's fitness center through the end of the C building). If we think about parcels, TIF, city ownership, and momentum starting to happen in this area, JJC—either through leases or utilizing existing facilities—can become a major player in this type of development.
Steve Brubaker shared some possibilities for development including:
- Tearing down the old hotel with a series of restaurants coming off the same kitchen in the back. It's a very street-friendly idea.
- Moving down Webster to the river, there could be a series of store fronts on Webster with a mixed use development (i.e., senior living and parking on top). The former City Center could then have a true hospitality program—banqueting and such.
- Continuing down Webster, add an allied health building along with parking, etc. The aim is to get Webster to become a whole district we're embedded into, and it becomes a campus setting. There would be a showcase restaurant on the river. Randy Machelski added the riverwalk would continue north, so it would merge with this fine restaurant.
Susan Block stated we are going through a process right now where we'll be leasing out the fourth floor of City Center, and she wanted the committee to be aware of that. Dave Agazzi stated it is slated to be a five year lease.
Bob Klein reminded the group of the museum with the rooftop garden, and added that the city wouldn't be too happy if we were to leave that area.
Dick Dystrup stated that just one block south of Cass Avenue, we have the Joliet Public Library within two blocks. There could be a connection to the library downtown and pulling them into the operation with the museum.
Alan Bombick stated the city sees the majority of the river front going over to housing of some type—probably townhouses. The parcel is a little bit of an odd shape to get anything large, but he thinks the city would really like to see housing.
Sandy Mol asked about the programs offered downtown that serve the people who are there. Jeff Sronkoski stated they're a great fit for this urban environment and would be expanded to the numbers reflected in the needs analysis. They would remain.
Michael Lundeen shared slides from the previous meeting about parking at other community colleges. JJC has a bit more parking on average than its peers. The average is 1.75 parking square footage to building gross square footage. JJC is at 1.98. Also, the college average of parking square footage divided by headcount is 98, and JJC's is 106. When dividing it by FTE, the average is 177, and JJC 181.
Randy Machelski stated JJR's task is to move forward a collective master plan that balances the site improvements with the building improvements. Parking is a good starting point. The site analysis and inventory is a tool to help them understand what exists.
Randy Machelski shared a slide for watershed management zones, identifying both pervious and impervious surface flows, proposed bio-filtration areas, etc. Keeping in mind the collection of salt as waters move through the campus in the winter, these types of maps will help JJR position best where JJC will need to start to improve the health of the water, provide retention (working with grades), etc.
Michael Lundeen shared the revised options for the Main Campus:
Option B.2.1 – Front Lawn:
Develops a student center building in the elbow of current buildings and uses it as a pivot to spin off future buildings to the east. There's a new athletic facility/YMCA building and an allied health building to the north of T. When adding buildings to the east, we'd start looking at additional parking needs. There would be a central green for outdoor events and front porches into green areas. The student center building begins to creep into the green space area. There's a new child care center by the athletic facilities. If the student center does move, the necessity for the bridge across the north side of campus is not as essential. There's an inner loop road that creates the ability to stay within parking lots to look for spaces rather than having to go back out to the loop road. Legat suggests an overhead connector from buildings so students wouldn't have to cross the inner loop road (which also doubles as a fire lane). The area over buried utilities (south of D), becomes a lawn area. Legat has reservations about relationships between where roads meet. Landscape options provide for round-abouts. JJR suggests boulevarded treatment with trees on both sides and colorful plantings throughout. There's a site for visitors at the southeast corner. JJR suggests bringing curriculum from horticulture into play and permanently placing them over utility areas. Concern was expressed about digging in that area and the fact that the proximity to the A building works well for classroom use. JJR suggests bringing a healthy wetland to the area east of J.
Option B.3.1 – Bridge Scheme:
Road allows for a natural relationship from Olympia. There would be southern and northern loop roads, and they do not connect through the classroom areas. There would be an addition of some developments in the current J area that would substantiate the need for a new pedestrian bridge. The student center would stay in the J building, and we would need to add a parking deck. Athletics/YMCA and ECC have new buildings. This version assumes the Culinary program moves out of J. Service areas have been added that are properly screened, ventilated, etc. This scheme allows for courtyards between buildings and a large area northwest of A building. JJR suggests the horticulture area on the southside of the arboretum, removing the south exit road that is currently parallel. They propose a path that connects to exterior walkways. There would be an opportunity to introduce color inside the courtyards.
Option C.2.1 – Town Square:
Student Center building becomes the town square: coffee shop, student organizations, cafeteria, etc. This would be embedded into the heart of the "knuckle." There would be a ceremonial green arrival and an emphasis on the approach from Olympia as the main approach to Main Campus. All "new" buildings are connected, creating a circular green area and potential parking zones. This option shows athletics and YMCA separate, but with a connecting second story walkway. The existing J building becomes a host of other things, so the new bridge becomes de-emphasized (if needed at all).
The main entrance remains, and there would be another entrance off of the new road. This scheme creates a major parking lot in the southeast corner with an arc road between the main entrance and the new road entrance. Concern expressed about the arc road and people speeding. This scheme would allow people to be looking at the front of the buildings along the arc road. Randy Machelski stated it is always a challenge to make the wayfinding system work. The arc road scheme can't get any clearer. The horticulture area would be located over buried utilities.
Judy Mitchell expressed concern about the separation of administration from a student center. There needs to be more of a connection there, and the connection between the controller and Financial Aid is important.
John Griffis asked how the committee will know how these plans will occur/appear. Jeff Sronkoski stated we would shoot for an ultimate goal and then work back to prioritize.
Dave Agazzi stated the next step is for Legat to present three options at opening session on August 15. He suggested to the committee that they attempt to merge the four options into three via e-mail communication. He and Mary Cwikla will get electronic copies to the committee for further review and ask for feedback.
Dave Agazzi stated we will need to find out if the board wants the committee to prioritize or if the board will do that, and we will have to think about whether or not we even include things like the potential new road. Jeff Sronkoski stated Legat would add cost estimates to assist with the prioritization process. Randy Machelski stated it would really help JJR if the detailed landscaping was only required for the final plan. Dick Dystrup asked for brief explanations to go along with the plans to describe the layouts, rather than just a map, and the inclusion of things like reasoning (i.e., plans based on future four lane road south of campus).