Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today visited the future site of Western Illinois University's Riverfront Campus in Macomb, Ill., to announce the renovation of approximately 60,000 square feet of space for the new campus and the 2,000 new jobs the construction project is expected to create.

Funding for the project is part of the Illinois Jobs Now! plan that will help create or retain more than 439,000 jobs over the next six years.

Despite northwestern Illinois having a population of more than 350,000 people, Western Illinois University-Quad Cities is currently the only public university in the area.

Completion of the new Riverfront Campus will more than triple the university�s total enrollment.

The project will also create 2,000 new jobs, generate a construction impact of more than $125 million and result in more than 100 permanent new jobs at WIU.

Today's announcement provides funding for the renovation of the former John Deere Technical Center, the first of the campus' three buildings. It was donated to the university by the company. The building's 60,000 sq ft of space will include classrooms, instructional and computer laboratories, offices, faculty and student lounges and a reception and work area.

"The Riverfront Campus will enhance educational opportunities in the Quad Cities and will create precious construction jobs," said Jim Riemer, Executive Director of the Capital Development Board. "In addition, the building will be LEED Silver certified, which means it will incorporate some of the latest energy-saving technologies. Education, jobs, and energy savings � that's a winning combination."

According to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the annual economic impact of Western Illinois University-Quad Cities with a current enrollment of 1,360 students and 100 faculty and staff is over $10 million annually.

A new 3,000-student, three-building campus will raise that value to more than $50 million annually and will double the number of college graduates to 500 annually.