I am writing to let you know about a partnership between the College and the City of Naperville that involves the College providing backup housing for the City’s public safety personnel. As a pillar of the Naperville community, the College has been mindful of its ability to support the local community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With the vast majority of our campus community currently learning and working remotely, we are in a unique position to be able to provide housing support to the City’s first responders during this time of need.
The College has made Geiger Residence Hall available for use by City employees who may find themselves in need of local housing, whether to be closer to their places of work or to self-quarantine due to exposure or possible exposure to COVID-19.
I want to ensure the campus community that when this facility is returned to College use, all necessary measures will be taken to ensure that it is safe for occupancy.
I am reminded that in the College’s storied history the institution has stepped up on numerous occasions to leverage its facilities and resources during times of great need. Over a century ago, barracks were established in Goldspohn Hall and Nichols Gymnasium (which is no longer standing) to train soldiers for World War I, and during the influenza pandemic of 1918 part of Goldspohn was converted to a hospital for sick soldiers training on our campus. During World War II, from 1942 to 1944, barracks were established in Merner Field House, and what is now Smith Hall in Old Main was converted into a classroom, for soldiers who were part of an Army Specialized Training Program.
While these are indeed unprecedented circumstances, our history shows us that when called to action, the College will respond. I am grateful to the City of Naperville’s leadership and first responders who continue to provide critical services to our community, and it gives me great pride—I hope it does for you, too—that the College is able to support our partners in these efforts. We remain open to additional opportunities to use other on-campus facilities to serve the public good as this pandemic evolves.
Please see below for the full press release of the announcement.
Troy D. Hammond
Naperville, Ill., April 1, 2020 – North Central College has partnered with the City of Naperville to provide backup housing for the City’s public safety personnel—including police officers, firefighters/emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and telecommunicators—as they work on the front lines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The College has offered one of its on-campus residence hall facilities for City workers who find themselves in need of local housing, whether to be closer to their places of work, or to self-quarantine due to exposure or possible exposure to COVID-19.
“From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been conscious of opportunities to serve and support the local community,” said North Central College President Troy D. Hammond. “The College has long been a cornerstone Naperville organization and we take great pride in being able to step up in support of the City’s first responders in a time of need. The College remains ready to serve and to continue to collaborate with the City to confront this crisis.”
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the College transitioned to remote instruction for the remainder of its spring semester, meaning only a limited number of students and staff remain on campus, leaving typically full residence hall facilities unoccupied during these unprecedented times. City employees will have access to Geiger Hall with rooms that are well-suited for single occupancy, and will reside apart from the limited number of students and staff who remain on campus.
“While the City is providing personal protective equipment and modified protocols to protect our first responders, the fact remains that their daily exposure to the public puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus,” said Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico. “We are extremely grateful to North Central College for working with us to provide a safe and comfortable location for our City employees to self-isolate or self-quarantine if they have been exposed. This agreement enables us to help protect our first responders and their families, to further prevent the spread of the virus and to continue providing essential emergency services to the community during this pandemic.”
While no City employees are currently staying on campus, the agreement gives the City maximum flexibility to utilize the campus facility as soon as it is necessary.
About North Central College
North Central College provides students with the confidence, instruction and direction they need to exceed their personal best inside and outside of the classroom and throughout their careers. Founded in 1861 and located just 28 miles west of Chicago in the Historic District of Naperville, Ill.—named among the nation’s “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine—North Central is home to nearly 3,000 students and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, 60 additional undergraduate minors and concentrations, and 12 graduate degree programs. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to discover why U.S. News & World Report has named North Central a “Best in the Midwest” school for 20 years in a row and to learn more about the College’s state-of-the-art facilities and distinctive programs, particularly in the sciences and business.
Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned living history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.