Voters approve Harper College’s community-driven plan for the future

The members of District 512 have endorsed the important work Harper College does, voting overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum question to support the college’s campus master plan.

The community’s investment of $180 million toward capital improvements helps position Harper students and the community for a strong future. The measure – which does not raise taxes – supports a community-driven plan that spurs economic opportunity, educates for today’s high-tech jobs, and maintains and improves campus infrastructure.

“In today’s economy, it’s hard to imagine achieving the American dream without the benefit of postsecondary education and training,” said Dr. Ken Ender, President of Harper College. “We are grateful for our community’s continued support and the recognition that Harper College plays a vital role in ensuring a strong future for the entire region.”

The referendum passed with 61 percent of the vote. More than 103,000 voters cast "yes" ballots.

Through engagement sessions and surveys, community members affirmed that Harper is critical in providing affordable education to keep communities and local businesses competitive in a rapidly changing environment. They also helped define the following three priorities for Harper’s 10-year campus master plan:

Drive Economic Opportunity in Our Community ($28.5 million):

  • A new building facilitating collaboration and innovation will house:
    • A hub for regional economic development (Small Business Development Center, Fast Track program, customized business training).
    • A home for University Center partnerships with DePaul, Northern Illinois, and Roosevelt universities, providing more affordable, convenient bachelor’s degrees on Harper’s campus.
    • A center to help residents keep skills current for today’s workplace.

Educate for Today’s High-Tech Jobs ($88.7 million):

  • Modernize facilities and curriculum.
  • Renovate 40-year-old facilities for academic programs in high-demand fields including business, accounting and early education.
  • Expand and improve health careers and manufacturing facilities.

Maintain and Improve Campus Infrastructure ($62.8 million):

  • Maintain and replace infrastructure such as roofs, electrical, plumbing, and other aging systems.
  • Invest in technologies to increase efficiency and ensure a safe campus.

To learn more about Harper’s plan, visit harpercollege.edu/strongfuture.