Western Illinois University's Quad-Cities Riverfront Campus is growing, physically and academically, as it continues its efforts to become a four-year public college.
Joe Rives, vice president of the Riverfront campus, said the accomplishments at the Riverfront campus this year have brought the college into its “new normal.”
Rives outlined the college's accomplishments over the past year and future goals during Western's annual report presentations Friday.
For more than 100 years, the Quad-Cities campus was open to junior and senior students finishing their degree.
With the move to the Riverfront location, the school started accepting freshmen who are dually enrolled in the college and community college, and honor cohort students.
Rives said the college’s main goal is to provide high-quality, affordable education to students. The enrollment is made up of students from 50 Illinois counties, 15 states and six countries. He added that 92 percent of graduates remain in the Quad-Cities.
“Part of our planning is to increase the draw into the Quad-Cities,” Rives said. “I think it’s interesting that people think of us as something that helps local people … that’s definitely an important component to what we do. But, we’re also recruiting great talent to the region.”
Last year, the college completed its first construction − its main building, which houses the College of Business and Technology, academic and student services and university administration.
This year, the college broke ground on Phase II of its expansion plans. There will be five interconnected buildings to house the university’s colleges of arts and sciences, education and human services, fine arts and communication, public television station WQPT-TV and the campus library.
Those departments are now at Western’s former campus on 60th Street in Moline. The buildings are slated to be completed by fall 2014.
Phase III still is a blank, Rives said. Administrators have started talking about what the building will look like and what it may hold, he said.
The city has hired an Orland Park-based construction company to build an $80 million mixed-use development on a 15½-acre, city-owned parcel next to the university. Plans include student and market-rate housing, retail, commercial, office space and entertainment venues.
Rives said that will save the college millions of dollars in costs.
As the campus continues to grow, the college will take on more responsibilities currently done on the Macomb campus.
For example, all applications for undergraduates applying to the Moline campus now will be processed in-house, rather than in Macomb, Rives said.