NEAR WEST SIDE — Construction on the new Malcolm X College campus officially kicked off Wednesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke ground on the Near West Side site.
The 500,000-square-foot campus will focus on health and science fields, the mayor said. He estimated that over the next decade, Illinois will create more than 25,000 healthcare-related jobs.
“The students coming out of Malcolm X will be prepared for those 25,000 jobs of the future," Emanuel said. Employers won't "just go to somebody who decides to move to the city of Chicago. They'll go to the residents of Chicago, who are not just college-ready — they’re career-ready.”
The new building will sit across the street from the current Malcolm X campus at 1900 W. Van Buren St.
Students will benefit from the close proximity to area hospitals — including Rush University Medical Center and Stroger Hospital — because they'll be able to partake in hands-on training programs, city officials said.
The new campus isn't "just a school where a person gets a college degree," said Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), who helped break ground Wednesday. "It’s also a place where a person gets a career, gets a trade, gets a job after their done.”
Burnett said he was proud Malcolm X College is named for a “man whose story has been an inspiration to me and many others in our community."
Moody Nolan, who owns the largest African-American architecture firm in the U.S., designed the building.
Construction — which is estimated to cost $251 million — should be completed by December 2015. Emanuel said that 1,000 people will be employed on the project, and about 10 percent of them will be Near West Side residents.
The campus is slated to open for students in January 2016.