EDITORIAL: Beloit College deserves praise - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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EDITORIAL: Beloit College deserves praise

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Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012 10:00 am

Power plant project would be great addition to riverfront.


THE GOOD NEWS along Beloit’s picturesque riverfront just keeps ... well, flowing.

Just a few weeks ago the Ken Hendricks Memorial Bridge was completed and opened along Henry Avenue. The northern end of Riverside Park witnessed the final touches for that lovely public space. And across the way, the spectacular landscaping and stone display for the Eclipse Center was finished, a sparkling addition to the Rock River corridor.

Altogether it is an exceptional combination, greeting visitors as they enter the vastly improved City Center of Beloit.

Now ... next?


ON FRIDAY, BELOIT COLLEGE announced plans for a dynamic project involving the Blackhawk Generating Station property.

College officials are in discussions with Alliant Energy, owner of the Blackhawk site, for acquisition. Alliant has expressed its desire to partner with the college to make the project work.

If it all comes together Beloit College would invest an estimated $30 million to convert the building and grounds into a state-of-the-art campus fitness and activity center. The site would house a swimming pool, large open activity area, food services, an indoor running track, green roof space, expandable meeting rooms and more.

It would be enclosed on the river side by an expanse of windows creating a spectacular view.

While the property primarily would be intended for campus use, Beloit College President Scott Bierman told the newspaper the project is being planned with opportunities for community usage in mind as well.


THIS IS BIG NEWS. From the state line to the northern end of Riverside Park, the river corridor has been transformed into a thing of beauty and practicality. It has become a major attraction not only for community members and events, but also for out-of-towners. This key part of the City Center shows exceptionally well.

So well, in fact, that it is not unusual at all for representatives of other places to visit with an eye toward developing similar plans to improve their own communities.

One of the few as-yet-unimproved landscapes along Beloit’s riverfront has been the Blackhawk site. While the company had spruced up the property over the years, it obviously was a site ripe for adaptive redevelopment of some kind. The fact that Alliant Energy has expressed an eagerness to partner with Beloit College in that effort speaks well of the company’s corporate citizenship.


THERE ARE MANY aspects of the plan that must fall into place before it becomes reality, from acquisition to fund-raising to construction. However, all involved seem highly optimistic this is do-able and that about four years hence it can be completed.

Beloiters should be enthused. It is one more significant step in the ongoing reclamation of the community.

Underlying all the City Center improvements are these two critical factors — belief in Beloit and commitment to its future. That’s a tough combination to beat.

Congratulations to Beloit College, for a visionary plan. Its success will bring benefits to the entire community. 

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  • DanG posted at 12:49 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    DanG Posts: 89

    PWC is right. In interest of us having to foot the bill for both the SDB pool and the Krueger pool, looking to collaborate with others makes sense. Janesville could have a thousand pools and that still wouldn't justify Beloit spending money it can't afford.

  • PWC posted at 1:49 pm on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    PWC Posts: 769

    Johnson, nothing is built yet at either school. With so many millions at stake, I would love to at least see the conversation take place. Seems they opened a door by saying they are interested in working with the community. Maybe we could get creative with a less expensive pool design or redesign at the high school for practice and gym class and hold swim meets at the college. It is definitely worth considering.

  • Johnson2386 posted at 9:47 am on Sun, Oct 14, 2012.

    Johnson2386 Posts: 8

    A shared pool would work great in theory until you factor in the scheduling. The high school teams practice up to 4 hours a day, both before and after school. There is not enough time in the day to make it work. Keep in mind that Janesville School District even has pools in some of their Middle Schools. If you want athletic teams to be proud of, you need facilities to draw in the strong middle class families to provide those positive student athletes. The same quest Beloit College is after with the 'PowerHouse'. I look forward to the day when the economy lets us be proud of adding amenities and improvements as opposed to the current stuck in the mud attitude of 'Do more with less.' The college could have just built a 4 lane pool, 1 lane for the college, 1 for the high school, 1 for the middle schools and 1 for the community....

  • PWC posted at 11:17 pm on Sat, Oct 13, 2012.

    PWC Posts: 769

    The facility is "being planned with opportunities for community usage as well"...Did anyone talk to the college before deciding to spend millions of tax dollars on a new high school pool? Sounds like they are willing to work with the community.

  • RicksterM posted at 11:31 am on Sat, Oct 13, 2012.

    RicksterM Posts: 62

    Agreed. Further, while there are understandable differences of opinion around the pool for BMHS, folks may not know that the initially proposed orientation of the pool was east-west. Following input from the community this was changed to north-south. This was done specifically to provide views to the continually improving riverfront. It's something to be proud of and showcased... particularly when BMHS is hosting out-of-town teams and their families.


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