Construction on a new state-of-the-art Malcolm X College began in early September 2013 and was completed in time for the start of Spring session classes in January 2016. The $251 million project, a major investment in Chicago’s West Side, was part of City Colleges’ five-year $524 million capital plan, which enables major improvements throughout the seven-campus community college system—from upgraded classroom technologies to brand-new teaching and learning facilities.
“Our first priority in building a new campus is to ensure our students are prepared to hit the ground running in 21st-century careers,” City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman said. “The construction phase of this project will provide an educational institution that is reflective of the communities we serve and will advance economic opportunities for all Chicagoans.”
Key features and architectural firm
The new 544,000 square foot campus, built directly across the street from the old college on its parking lot, features space for health science, general education and adult education instruction, as well as student services and athletics. It also has a new conference facility, auditorium and parking garage.
As the Center for Excellence in healthcare education for City Colleges’ College to Careers (C2C) initiative, the new campus was designed with input from C2C healthcare industry partners, faculty and staff. It features classrooms that allow for combined didactic and skills training, including a virtual hospital that simulates the healthcare work environment. Close attention was paid throughout the design and construction process to create an energy-efficient building that promotes teaching and learning, and student success and wellness.
City Colleges contracted with Moody Nolan, the nation’s largest African-American owned architectural firm, to serve as the project’s Architect of Record. The firm expanded its two-year-old Chicago office from nine to 14 staff members for the project, becoming the largest African-American owned architectural firm in Chicago. The award-winning firm has worked locally at University of Illinois Chicago and McCormick Place, and has significant experience in the education and healthcare sectors with such institutions as Ohio State University.
For a more detailed project factsheet, go here.
City Colleges of Chicago was committed to ensuring that construction benefits the surrounding Near West side community. Of the nearly 1,000 jobs that were created through the project, 120 were dedicated to qualified applicants residing in communities surrounding the college.
To prepare local residents without prior training, City Colleges provided slots in its pre-apprentice construction training program offered at Kennedy-King College’s Dawson Technical Institute (DTI). To ensure minority and female participation in the project, City Colleges partnered with the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) and the Chicago Urban League to hold hiring events and recruit applicants. The training program at DTI screened and enrolled applicants throughout the duration of the construction project as needed.
Once a student satisfactorily completed his or her training, he or she became eligible for hire by sub-contractors. Available positions included: plumbers, electricians, carpenters, pipe fitters, brick masons, painters, ironworkers, operators, roofers, laborers, and sheet metal workers.
Multiple cohorts of local residents completed the training program, and more than 30 people had been hired for the project as of January 2014. Thirty percent of total site preparation hours worked in Fall 2013 at MXC were by community residents. As the construction phase of this project gears up, more jobs and opportunities for career development will become available.
New parking garage
In April 2015, the new MXC Parking Garage opened. For details on the new garage, please go here.