SPRINGFIELD – Officials of Lincoln Land Community College broke ground today on a new building for the study of agriculture.
LLCC Board Chair Wayne Rosenthal announced that the new structure on the east edge of campus will be named the Kreher Agriculture Center, in honor of the late Charles and Irene Kreher.
“Eighteen months ago, we announced an amazing gift of $18 million to transform and grow the college’s agriculture program,” Rosenthal told the crowd at the construction site. “Today we honor the intent of our incredibly generous donors, Charles and Irene Kreher, to modernize and transform our ag program into the finest anywhere.
“It is so fitting that this new building will also honor the intent of LLCC’s founders 52 years ago,” he continued, “many of whom were farmers and wanted to provide excellent, accessible and affordable education for the citizens of our district. Because of them, agriculture has been taught at LLCC since its very beginning.”
The 19,750-square-foot, $7.5 million building is being funded by annual distributions from the Kreher Farm Perpetual Charitable Trust to the LLCC Foundation and is expected to open in the spring semester of 2021.
“This cutting-edge facility will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories, student gathering spaces and a spacious, glassed-in expo area for ag simulators,” said Rosenthal. “The building will incorporate technology and active learning to prepare students for success in the 21st century workplace.”
Thus far, the Kreher gift has allowed LLCC’s agriculture program to offer more scholarships, research and travel opportunities to students, along with the latest active learning tools including high tech simulators, drones and augmented reality devices.
LLCC President Charlotte Warren, Ph.D., expressed excitement for the next step: a new facility. “But even more important are the people who will work and learn here. We have outstanding faculty and staff in our agriculture program. Our agriculture students are active and top notch. They continually bring home awards and recognitions that make us proud.”
She announced that LLCC Ag was recently named the best college agriculture program in the Midwest by the National Association of Agricultural Educators. LLCC’s soil specialist team won first place overall at the national Professional Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization conference last spring, and the college bowl team placed first for the third consecutive year at the Illinois PAS conference.
“You can see why we’re proud and want to expand these opportunities to more students,” said Dr. Warren. “We look forward to further accolades and achievements from our ag program. With this new facility, the sky is the limit!”
LLCC Ag Club President Skye Kretzinger commented on the importance of the occasion. “Today is a major day for all of those who have, are or are going to be attending LLCC as an agriculture student. This new building signifies change and our future of agriculturists. Throughout this new building, students will be learning to become our next agronomists, animal nutritionists, land surveyors and much more; they will be becoming the future of agriculture.”
Also participating in the groundbreaking were LLCC Board of Trustee members Ken Elmore, vice chair; Gordon Gates, secretary; Dr. Vicki Davis; Craig Findley; Jeff Fulgenzi; and Student Trustee Aaliyah Kissick.
Unveiling the architectural rendering of the new building were Don Wienhoff, trustee of the Kreher Charitable Trust, along with trust representatives Bob Stuart and Larry Hardy, and Wyatt Banks, Professional Agricultural Student representative.
LLCC offers a transfer degree in agriculture along with occupational degrees and certificates in agri-business management, precision agronomy, fertilizer and horticulture. More information is available at www.llcc.edu/agriculture.