Kaskaskia College Holds Groundbreaking for Crisp Technology Center Expansion

​On Thursday, June 12, Kaskaskia College held a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion and renovation of its Crisp Technology Center.  The Crisp Center houses the College’s industrial and vocational occupations programs including Electronics and Robotics, Construction Technologies, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, and Welding.
The event was attended by many of the contractors set to work on the project, along with representatives from local industries and Illinois State Representative John Cavaletto, who praised the College and the leadership of Dr. Jim Underwood for a decade of unprecedented growth.
An overview of the Crisp Center was given by KC President Dr. Jim Underwood.  The Crisp center started life as a Pepsi Cola plant before being donated to the College in the 1990’s by Harry Crisp.  The space was retrofitted to house the College’s heavy industrial programs, and as the technology has changes, so has the need for more instructional space and updated equipment.  “The College can only do so much,” Dr. Underwood said.  “But in partnership with the public, we can do so much more.”  To that end, KC is kicking off a campaign to raise $250,000 for equipment and technology for the expanded Center. 
Mr. Bill Hawley, Chair of the KC Board of Trustees, said that “One of the greatest things the Board gets to do is to provide facilities where people can be trained or re-trained for jobs immediately.  The technology improves every day, and we must keep pace.  Our key is to make sure that students succeed in finding good jobs so that they become taxpayers and support the growth of the area.”
Dr. John Raymer, Mayor of the City of Salem, was announced as the Chair of the campaign to raise the finds to equip the Crisp Center.  Dr. Raymer spoke passionately about the growth he is witnessing starting to take place in the area, and the role the College has in feeding that growth.  “This building is crucial if my town is to succeed,” Dr. Raymer said.  “People tell me it is harder and harder to find qualified workers to feed the resurgence of industry. The Crisp Center and its programs are vital to providing that qualified workforce.”
According to Dr. Raymer, the campaign has started exceedingly well.  He introduced several audience members who represent industry in the Salem area, including Radiac, North American Lighting, and Schutt Sports. 
George Evans, Dean of Career and Technical Programming for the College, gave an overview of the work to be done, and Vice-President of Instruction Dr. Greg Labyak vowed to work closely with area business and industry to continue to meet the needs of employers with highly qualified and skilled workers.
Art Borum, Crisp Center Director and Business and Industry Representative for the College, gave a heartfelt speech thanking the College and its partners for making this much needed project a reality. 
For more information on the Crisp Technology Center campaign, please contact campaign director Suzanne Christ at 618-545-3069 or by email at

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