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A Year Later JALC is Moving Forward

Published on August 25, 2021

Just before Noon on August 12, 2020, the fall semester at John A. Logan College almost came to a stop before it ever really began. An electrical fire confined to a mechanical room caused smoke damage throughout the majority of the Carterville campus. Faculty and staff quickly moved all operations online while staff relocated, and within days the College was fully operational and open to the public.

“Sadly, after the COVID shutdown, we had experience converting to remote operations,” said Provost Dr. Melanie Pecord. “But despite our previous experience, the effort by our faculty and staff to continue moving forward uninterrupted with the fall was unbelievable. We continued with registration, and classes never missed a beat.”

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, staff continued to work remotely and from temporary office locations while areas of campus were under renovation.  By June, staff began to move back to refurbished office areas that offer students and staff a comfortable and welcoming environment.

“We are so proud of our space and excited to be able to serve students better than we ever have,” said Assistant Provost for Student Affairs, Dr. Tim Williams. “Not only do we have fresh paint, carpet, and ceiling tiles, but we also have made renovations that help serve students from recruitment to graduation.”

College officials recently announced plans for additional renovations to the campus.  The College is in the early planning stages with the Illinois Capital Development Board to expand the West Entrance.

“The renovations that we have planned for the West Entrance to the campus will allow us to meet the needs of our students with an expanded student services area and provide meeting space and opportunities to our local communities,” said President Dr. Kirk Overstreet.

Fall semester classes began on August 11, almost a year to the day of the fire. A walk around the campus shows a College that has moved forward from that event. Fresh paint, fresh carpet, and fresh outlook have leaders optimistic that a return to normal will happen sooner rather than later. 

“The start of the semester brings a renewed optimism after a year and a half of setbacks,” said Overstreet. “It has been great to see classrooms with students in them and staff back in their offices. “We are going to continue to do everything we can on campus to ensure that we continue to move forward.”

On August 20, the College began requiring all visitors, students, faculty, and staff to wear masks.

“Our number one priority is to keep our campus community safe,” said Overstreet. “At this time, that means that we will wear masks to protect both ourselves and our students. We also encourage everyone to get vaccinated, and we highly encourage those visiting campus to wear a mask.”