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New JJC Building Almost Ready to Go

New building expands space, but considers the environment.

When the health professions building at Joliet Junior College opens in November, students will get hands-on experience in nursing. The third floor of the building has technologically advanced practicum space that mimics real-world emergency medicine, radiology and neonatalolgy, just to name a few.

"It gives you that full impact for what a student is going to experience," Al Zakariya, senior project manager from Gilbane, who is in charge of the building project said.

Currently, there are 340 students enrolled in the nursing program at Joliet Junior College. It is a hugely popular program and one that was in need of more space.

"This is the last of the building that they took on that doubled the space of the college," Zakariya said.

The health professions building was paid for by the $89 million referendum that passed in 2008.

Like the Natural Sciences building expansion, it is hoped that the health professionals building will be LEED silver certified. Part of the reason why is the large amount of natural light that is directed throughout the building. The lights in the building are all set to sensors. The building also has a green roof with live plants. But perhaps the biggest reason is not immediately evident.

"A lot of the stuff that you don't see is under the ground," Zakariya said.

That includes how the college is heating the building. Before construction on the actual building began, geothermal wells were drilled in the lots in front of the building. There are 120 wells that are 500 to 600 feet into the earth. The water is pumped through 4-inch pipes. The water found that deep is consistently between 8 and 62 degrees. A system in place inside the building that includes heat exchanges and pumps heats that water to a comfortable temperature - in the 70 degree range.

An exact opening date has not been set for the building yet.


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