Joliet Junior College has completed renovations to space for its new respiratory care therapy program, and will soon begin construction on sites that will expand the college’s police station and modify its City Center Campus landscape.
JJC is utilizing existing reserves in its Operations and Maintenance Restricted Fund for these projects, which are part of the college’s Strategic Plan, with a collective cost of just under $8 million.
Meeting Healthcare Demand
The respiratory care therapy program will be housed in about 7,000 square feet of previously unused space inside the Health Professions (U-Building) at Main Campus. Dr. Jorie Kulczak, interim dean of nursing, health and public safety, said the $1.75 million project creates classrooms, offices, a dedicated simulation lab, and private care room.
“The pandemic brought to light an even more pronounced need for respiratory therapists,” said Kulczak. “Employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 21 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Respiratory therapists examine and support treatment of patients with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders. They perform diagnostic tests and consult with physicians to develop patient treatment plans. These include chest physiotherapy and aerosol medication, monitoring and recording patients’ progress, and providing instructions on medications and equipment. Respiratory therapists also work with at-home and long-term care patients for management of chronic diseases and illnesses.
The Associate of Applied Science in respiratory therapy is a two-year degree program, offering lecture, clinical and simulation experiences. The college is also pursuing partnerships in long-term care and home health care to grow learning opportunities. The program is currently awaiting curriculum approval from the state and national accreditation before it can begin accepting applications.
Enhancing Public Safety
With design plans complete, crews are expected this fall to start renovating and expanding the JJC Police Department. The $5.25 million project encompasses 12,000 square feet within and adjacent to its current location in G-Building at Main Campus.
“In our current setting we are dispersed amongst several spaces, this expansion will allow us to all be in one singular space which will make for better continuity for our officers and support staff. Such an expansion will also be beneficial for our visitors, faculty, staff, students, and community members.”
The project will add or modify various rooms and offices, including training spaces, armory, holding area, and an emergency operations center. A sally port and vehicle storage will also be added south of building.
“Additionally, we will have a more modern and state-of-the-art dispatch center which will provide better communication,” said Campbell.
The project has a timeline of 14-18 months.
More Access Downtown
At JJC’s City Center Campus in downtown Joliet, construction is now underway to improve parking options and create plaza space adjacent to the building, at the previous Webster St. and old hotel area.
The $875,000 project will add more parking spaces, and feature new landscaping. It is a two-phase project, with the first phase to be complete in August.
The City Center Campus, which opened in 2017, stands six stories and is 96,000 square feet. It houses JJC’s Culinary Arts program, Department of Adult Education and Literacy, and Workforce Development.
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