December 04, 2023

Heartland Community College breaks ground on ag facility

NORMAL, Ill. — Heartland Community College kicked off the construction of a 29,500-square-foot-facility and outside growing labs which will support agriculture programs and the next generation of ag students.

Heartland staff, students, local officials and agriculture industry leaders participated in a groundbreaking ceremony of the new $23 million facility to be located on the west side of the main Heartland campus on Raab Road in Normal.

“By expanding our agriculture education pathways to include not only three degree programs but also additional certificate programs, we are seeking to meet the ag workforce needs of the present and also the future,” said Heartland Community College President Keith Cornille.

“With this facility we will have the learning spaces needed for plant science, soil analysis, precision planting technology, drone technology, heavy equipment, agribusiness and the many other types of instruction tied to this diverse industry.”

In addition to college instructional space, the facility will be a resource to engage community youth.

Cornille added that the space will be used for school field trips, FFA members, 4-H club members and others who will carry the industry on for generations to come.

In March, the Heartland Community College Foundation received a $2 million donation from McLean County Farm Bureau for the project.

The building will also benefit from another $1.5 million in private support through gifts to the Foundation from Joe Talkington, Precision Planting, Cargill, Compeer Financial, CoBank, Illinois Soybean Association and others.

Thanks to an additional $2 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the building will be constructed with net-zero energy performance.

The ICEF grant funding will support project costs and building components related to energy efficiency and renewable self-generation, enabling the project to achieve site net-zero energy performance.

The facility has an anticipated completion date in the fall of 2023.

Heartland Community College offers multiple pathways for agriculture students including the degree programs associate in science, associate in arts, associate in applied science, as well as certifications in agriculture business, agronomy, precision agriculture and regenerative agriculture.