Illinois Terminal celebrates 10th anniversary

Large banners hang on the front of Illinois Terminal in celebration of its tenth anniversary, and a large white ten can be seen in each of the windows opposite the front entrance. It is a significant celebration for the increasingly green Illinois Terminal, one that marks ten years of revenue dependency.

Built in 1999, Illinois Terminal is home to a large amount of transit including the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, Greyhound, Burlington Trailways, LEX Express, Illini Shuttle (by Suburban Express) and Amtrak. All of these companies bring in a large amount of revenue diverting the need to levy property taxes, said Bill Volk, director of the Champaign-Urbana ?Mass Transit District.

He said Illinois Terminal receives 65 percent of its funding through IDOT, the Illinois Department of Transpiration, and the remaining 45 percent comes from leased space, vending machines and pay phones.

Volk said the tentative budget for the 2010 fiscal year, which began July first, is $898,000. This includes $554,000 in wages and benefits for the 11 staff members, $145,000 in utilities, $140,000 in materials and supplies, and $58,000 in contract maintenance.

Illinois Terminal has five floors-the fifth housing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems — but only two floors have space for lease.

“It’s difficult to make buildings revenue dependent when you have unleasable space,” Volk said.

Adam Shanks, Illinois Terminal Director, said space is currently being utilized as best as possible. Non-transit tenants include a Subway sandwich shop on the first floor, the offices of state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign on the second floor and READY School and Junior League facilities located on the third floor. Shanks said READY School is an alternative education school within the Unit 4 school district.

“It’s a program that takes kids from their home school if they are dealing with an issue that is interfering with their education,” Shanks said. “The program is designed so students can return to their home school to graduate successfully.”

Shanks said Illinois Terminal is currently adding two offices and five classrooms on the second floor to meet an increased enrollment of 150 students this fall.

In addition to the expanding READY School, Shanks is also proud of how clean and decorative Illinois Terminal is, and not just in the fake plastic tree sense, though many are scattered throughout the building.

Walking through the main entrance of Illinois Terminal you pass under a two story American flag hanging from the ceiling, and are met with a large clay sculpture of gorillas in a jungle scene, bordered by two polished wooden panther statues.

The stairway to the second floor, just beyond the entrance, is lined with photos from the past to the present, depicting the development of transportation. Shanks said captions will soon be placed under each of the photos to aid in the understanding of development. The second floor also boasts three bronze statues of children skating in unison. They rest on cork flooring, an alternative to tile or carpet, Shanks said.

The baise and burgundy cork flooring, manufactured by Shaw Contract Group, is a green alternative, Shanks said.

“It’s a renewable, durable, and easy to clean product,” he said. “It is sealed so we can run a floor machine over it daily, but it only needs a thorough cleaning once a year.”

Native prairie grass grows thick on both sides of the hill that Amtrak runs on. Shanks said the 14-foot deep roots of the grass anchors the soil on the hill, preventing erosion.

“Some people prefer flowers,” Shanks said. “But the grass is a natural, native touch.”

Shanks said another green aspect is how energy efficient Illinois Terminal is. The building uses VFDs, variable frequency drives, on all of its HVAC and water pumping systems. These devices, an industry standard today, allow regulation of air and water to make sure the demand is met in the building and that waste in not occurring, Shanks said.

“Illinois Terminal is better used and more energy efficient and green than it ever was,” Shank said. “It was built with a goal in mind; to maintain revenue dependency and not put additional stress on tax payers. I think Illinois Terminal has accomplished that goal.”