Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Harper College's Campus Master Plan
What priorities are outlined in Harper’s updated Campus Master Plan?
Priorities in Harper’s updated 10-year Campus Master Plan include an Innovation/University Center; renovations to outdated classrooms in the Business and Social Science division (which includes more than a dozen programs such as accounting, business administration, early childhood education, economics, entrepreneurship, history and political science); additions to health careers and manufacturing labs; and infrastructure and technology improvements. More information is available at harpercollege.edu/strongfuture.
Why are these priority projects needed?
The building additions and renovations identified in the plan support students who are preparing for careers in high-demand fields. About two-thirds of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school by the year 20201, so increasing access to degrees and certificates benefits the entire region. The average Harper graduate will earn an additional $591,0002 in his or her career compared to someone who has not completed a community college program. A major area of focus is the expansion of labs in health careers and manufacturing, both industries facing a critical shortage of skilled workers.3
Just as important is the maintenance and improvements you don’t necessarily see. Tunnels, IT cables, chilled water and steam lines and other infrastructure support the College’s daily operations. Investing in aging facilities throughout Harper’s 200-acre campus prevents not only significant safety and financial headaches down the road, it protects one of the community’s most valuable assets.
1Georgetown Public Policy Institute
2The Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University
3Vanderbilt University report/Deloitte Consulting and the Manufacturing Institute
What is a Campus Master Plan?
A Campus Master Plan serves as a road map for the future vision of Harper College. In addition to outlining preventative maintenance and physical environment demands for Harper’s 1.65 million square feet of building space, the blueprint guides decisions about major investments in Harper’s infrastructure. The plan aligns with the College’s student success goals, and it builds in flexibility to accommodate the evolving needs of our students, community and the workforce. Harper updated its 10-year Campus Master Plan in 2016.
What was the process to determine the priorities?
The priorities reflect input from hundreds of community residents and stakeholders representing Harper College, area school districts, service organizations and the business community, as well as variety of plans and reports on the issues impacting Harper College and its district. They include:
- An Environmental Scan completed by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies to study economic, demographic, workforce, educational, technology and business/industry trends in Harper’s district
- Harper’s four-year Strategic Plan, which focuses on student completion and success
- The Campus Master Plan, developed by design and planning firm Perkins Eastman to address the College’s physical needs through 2028
- A Community Scan by Clarus Corp., which gauged the knowledge, awareness and opinions toward Harper of more than 700 community residents and employers
- A phone survey of 500 district residents
- Input from a community taskforce made up of more than a dozen area community and business leaders
- A series of open houses throughout October
How much will this cost?
The priority projects outlined in the Campus Master Plan are expected to cost $180 million over the next decade.
How will this work be funded?
To help fund the Campus Master Plan priorities, Harper College is considering a zero-tax-rate-increase bond proposal. Despite challenging economic times and the state’s historic two-year budget impasse, Harper’s strong financial stewardship and Aaa bond rating gives the College the ability to borrow the $180 million for capital improvements without raising taxes.
How would a zero-tax-rate-increase bond issue work?
Existing capital bonds approved in the year 2000 are nearly paid off, at which time property taxes for the owner of a $250,000 market value house would decrease by $23 annually. A zero-tax-rate-increase bond issue would keep the tax rate at the same level.
How can I share my feedback about the plan and its priorities?
We invite you to share your visions, thoughts and opinions by attending an open house or visiting harpercollege.edu/strongfuture to complete a survey and provide additional feedback.