Bipartisan group lobbies for capital plan outside Lincoln Hall

By Jim Shay

In another effort to push the Illinois Works capital plan closer to fruition, a collection of bipartisan legislators, University officials, local business leaders and union members gathered outside of Lincoln Hall on Tuesday afternoon to voice their support for the bill.

A total of $300 million would potentially be allocated for use by the University of Illinois to, among other things, renovate Lincoln Hall, which has been closed indefinitely.

State Representative Bill Black (R-Danville), an alumni of the University, was among those who spoke at the event.

“We stand in front of a building that is almost 100 years old, on the campus of a world-class research university, and this building will not be open in the fall,” Black said. “What a legacy to leave to the people of Illinois and the students on this great campus, that Lincoln Hall cannot open.”

State Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) singled out Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan as being primarily responsible for preventing the bill from passing.

The capital plan, which would be the state’s first in nine years, would include $55 million for renovations to Lincoln Hall, $18.9 million for a Post Harvest Crop Research Lab, and $42 million for construction of an Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, with $124.8 million also allocated to the University for repairs and capital improvement.