Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker visited the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus Tuesday to highlight the state's capital program funding for higher education.
Pritzker said in his first year in office, higher education funding has been increased.
"We passed a bi-partisan, balanced budget that increased funding for public universities by over $50 million. (It) increases funding for community colleges by $14 million and makes college more affordable by expanding merit-based scholarships and MAP grants to over 10,000 more students."
During his stop on the Carbondale campus, Pritzker touted over eight million dollars in funding to begin planning for a reconstructed Communications Building that will feature state-of-the-art media labs, digital post-production suites, a combined broadcast-print newsroom and auditorium space.
"The students who learn at this facility won't just be prepared to meet the needs of the media industry of the future, they'll be prepared to lead it in its next phase."
Mackenzie Rosario is a junior majoring in Cinema and Photography. She said students understand the importance of gaining access to the highest quality facilities.
"This will not only open the door for more opportunities, but down the line, when we as students advance in our careers, we will then be inspired ourselves to invest in the very topic being discussed today and contribute to the next students' success."
The timeline for completion is three to four years.
Republican State Senator Dale Fowler of Harrisburg said at a recent lunch with members of the SIU Foundation, the group produced a new phrase to highlight the great things happening at SIU-Carbondale.
"Somebody said, 'absolutely!' But, we came up with a new name, AbSaluki! So, we're going to start using that every now and then if that's alright."
This is part of an overall 83-million dollar appropriation for the SIU-Carbondale campus in the FY-20 capital budget.