WEST LOOP — The mayor touted the expansion of Malcolm X College as a project that would focus the school on health education and bring jobs to the West Side Wednesday.
The $250 million project, to be completed by 2016, will bring a simulated hospital, new labs and cutting-edge health-care technology for training to the college, in the process creating 950 construction jobs, 120 to be filled by West Side residents between Lake and 26th streets and Ashland and California avenues.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it was part of the Chicago Neighborhoods Now initiative "to make sure that the residents and the community prosper as the city grows as well." He also cited recent national accreditation for the college's paramedic program.
"This facility will advance economic opportunities for Chicagoans for years to come," said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.
"This is a big deal for the minority community," said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th). "It's only fitting that a college named after Malcolm X, that they do these type of things. ... It's going to bring a lot of great things to our neighborhood." He pointed out how it will complement the health curriculum at Crane Medical Preparatory High School.
The project will also be overseen by Moody Nolan, the largest African-American-owned architecture firm in the nation, which will pad its Chicago office. Emanuel said it was the first time under his administration that an African-American-owned firm was the leading architect on a major city project.
The 500,000-square-foot facility will be erected on the current site of a college parking lot at Jackson and Damen streets.
In addition to the local jobs for qualified workers, the project will also provide free training to 50 local residents through the City Colleges' Dawson Technical Institute of Kennedy-King College. They'll fill qualified positions later in construction.