What began as an inquiry about outsourcing human resources functions has progressed into a new home for WQPT.

The boards of trustees for Black Hawk College and Western Illinois University, within about 16 hours of each other Thursday night and Friday morning, approved the transfer of the license and equipment for the public broadcasting television station from the latter to the former.

"It means we know what the future of our license is, which has been rather up in the air for the last couple of years," Rick Best, WQPT's general manager, said Friday.

WQPT, a Public Broadcasting System station, had been housed at Black Hawk since it signed on the air in 1983.

When the college governing board cut it completely from Black Hawk's 2007-08 budget - saying it did not fit into the school's mission - station officials began looking at alternatives.

The station was ready to transfer its license to the nonprofit Greater Quad-Cities Telecommunications Corporation, which oversees WQPT.

Best said the corporation had approached Western Illinois about human resources when Joe Rives, the vice president of WIU's Quad-Cities campus in Moline, said the school would consider taking over the license and the equipment.

"They decided it was a good fit for what they were trying to accomplish here in the Quad-Cities," Best added.

WQPT's operating and reserve funds, totalling more than $2.7 million, will be transferred to a restricted account through the Western Illinois University Foundation.

"Acquiring WQPT supports increased community service, visibility and marketing for Western in the Quad-Cities, complements the work of academic departments, enhances fundraising efforts and provides opportunities for resource sharing between University Television, Tri States Public Radio and WQPT," Western Illinois officials said in a news release.

Best said the move will allow the station to remain in operation and expand elements that had been cut back in recent years.

"Now that we have some assurance of where we're headed, we can get back into the business of producing local programs for the area and get some of those projects under way that have been on hold. It's definitely a positive thing for the station."

Best said once an application is filed with the Federal Communications Commission to transfer the license, it will take a month for initial approval, followed by time for public input.