St. Ambrose announces LeClaire Hall renovation

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - St. Ambrose University on Thursday unveiled plans for an $8 million renovation that will transform the second-oldest building on campus into the Higgins Hall of Innovation and Human-Centered Design.

According to a release, the project was facilitated in part by a significant donation from alumnus and trustee Tom Higgins.

The near-total interior renovation of the 105-year-old building long known as LeClaire Hall will begin in spring 2022, with an anticipated re-opening in fall 2023.

Once completed, the building will feature five modern classrooms and more than 20 offices, according to the release.

It initially will house the St. Ambrose School of Social Work, the Institute for Person-Centered Care, and the Master of Public Health program.

“What Tom is envisioning is how we more intentionally provide support services and a holistic experience for students in all disciplines on our campus,” St. Ambrose President Dr. Amy Novak said. “If we’re looking at the future of higher education, it rests with how we know a student best. Can we create a customized experience by recognizing their strengths, where they’re vulnerable, and understanding their learning style? Can we deliver a tailored learning experience?”

A previous $1 million donation from Higgins led to the creation of the MPH program and the IPCC, both of which debuted in the fall of 2017 and currently are based at the Center for Health Sciences Education in Lombard Street, according to the release. Higgins also contributed funding that helped the School of Social Work add a Bachelor of Social Work degree to a master’s program that began in 1995.

The Higgins Hall of Innovation and Human-Centered Design will build upon the IPCC’s foundational mission to create a more collaborative approach to treating the “whole person,” according to the release.

Higgins said the Human-Centered Design concept ultimately could be built into the curricula of such SAU programs as engineering, education, computer science, and multiple programs in the College of Business.

The design of the new interior was done by Studio 483 Architects. Estes Construction will be the lead contractor.

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