INA — Starting next school year, Rend Lake College will offer a new oil and natural gas technician associate’s degree program.
The two-year program has been developed through a partnership between RLC and Southeastern Community College in Harrisburg.
Terry Wilkerson, RLC president, said the new degree is especially relevant now as the oil-extraction technique known as fracking becomes more of an issue in Southern Illinois.
“We’re just trying to be proactive when and if the fracking and the oil and natural gas area develops,” Wilkerson said. “We want to be able to try and train a workforce and be on the ground with that. As their skill set needs to be improved, we’re trying to have those things in place.”
The RLC Board of Trustees approved the new degree program at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. The program has an effective date of Aug. 1, 2014.
Also on Tuesday, the board authorized the advertising for bids for a $225,000 project to renovate the walkway to the Allen Y. Baker Administration Building on campus.
The goal of the project is to make the walkway more attractive and appealing to students, said Eric Black, chairman of the RLC Board.
The renovation will involve a repaving of the walkway. In addition, engraved bricks bearing the names of donors to the project will be placed along the walkway.
“That’ll be the first thing (students) see when they come on campus,” Black said of the walkway. “It’ll really make our campus stand out and obviously it will give the students the idea that, wow, the community really stands in support of the students.”
Funding for the renovation will come from the RLC Foundation and from donations.
Also, the foundation will match each dollar raised for the effort and form an endowment for student scholarships.