Local politicians, city officials and educators joined together to celebrate and break ground on a new student services building being named after the late State Rep. Larry McKeon.
The Larry McKeon Administrative Building, a $55 million student services center and parking structure at Harry S. Truman College, will be completed in the spring of 2010. It is named after the late lawmaker, who was instrumental in making its construction possible.
Pictured: Gerald McKeon , brother of the late Larry McKeon; part of the business plans for the new building. Photos byAmy Wooten
Among those celebrating McKeon's legacy and the local college's bright future Aug. 19 were 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller and out State Rep. Greg Harris.
Construction will officially begin Sept. 1.
McKeon, who was openly gay and HIV-positive, passed away earlier this year, shortly after retiring.
The late lawmaker's brother, Gerald McKeon, told Windy City Times that the generosity and kindness that Harry S. Truman College has shown since his sibling's passing has 'just blown our minds.'
'They have just been first class,' Gerald McKeon added. Later that afternoon, while accepting a plaque naming the building after his brother, Jerry McKeon said that he has come to truly understands why he was so involved in the school, as well as the local community, during his life.
Harry S. Truman College, located in Uptown since 1976, is one of the City Colleges of Chicago. The new building, which will contain space for various student services and 1,100 parking spaces, will be erected adjacent to the current building, on what is now a large parking lot.
The college, much like the neighborhood it is located in, is known for its diversity. During the ceremony, interim college president Lynn Walker called Harry S. Truman College a 'people's college' that is as dedicated to education and the surrounding community as McKeon was.
'It is only fitting this building bears his name,' Walker said.
Shiller noted McKeon's strong involvement in the college, as well as the community he represented, which included Uptown.
'This is to show one more time how much we miss Larry, and the important part he played in the community,' Shiller said.
She hopes that the new structure, once completed, will be seen as a 'real beacon' in the community, and not just a building that helps alleviate the neighborhood's parking problems.