Janesville45.4°

Blackhawk Tech decides against land buy

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
March 8, 2011

Blackhawk Technical College is backing away from a plan to buy 33 acres next door to its central campus in Rock Township.


BTC President Tom Eckert told the board Friday that he does not recommend buying the land, in light of Gov. Scott Walker's proposed biennial budget.


The board concurred, Eckert said Monday.


"We just felt we should hang onto that money," Eckert said. "At this point, we're facing some pretty good cuts, and we just felt it wasn't prudent at this time to go forward."


The land is located to the north of BTC and is bounded in part by County G and Sunny Lane Road. It was a likely location for a "traffic-safety center," including a track where fire and police could learn emergency maneuvers.


The board in December voted to give Eckert the authority to negotiate a deal for the land with a maximum price of $12,500 an acre, or just over $400,000.


Eckert last week said Walker's 2011-13 budget bill would create an estimated $1.68 million budget gap for BTC in the coming fiscal year.


The board remains committed to going forward with an expansion of its classroom facility at Beloit's Eclipse Center, but officials are keeping an eye on budget details. If the cost becomes prohibitive, BTC could back off of that project as well, Eckert said.


The Beloit project calls for leasing an additional 12,000 square feet at the Eclipse Center to expand classroom and laboratory space, mainly for health professions.


The lease would cost $70,000 a year. Renovations were estimated in December at $670,000.



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