Augustana hoping to attract more students with new healthcare facility

ROCK ISLAND, Ill (KWQC) -- When it comes to alternative health programs, Augustana College has a new one for Kinesiology. Augie is building a new health and wellness facility.

The college made the announcement this Tuesday morning and they’re hoping this will attract more students that will also consider staying in the Quad Cities.

Augustana College became home for Stephanie Soebbing, when she moved to the Quad Cities at 18-years-old.

“16 years I have been here, so I think we are here for a while. We definitely are here to stay,” said Stephanie Soebbing a former Augustana student and business owner of Quilt Addicts Anonymous.

Soebbing went to school to become a journalist. After college, she met her husband and they together started their Quilt Addicts Anonymous business in Rock Island.

“It's a lot of work and a lot of financial commitment, but it's working for us,” said Soebbing.

Soebbing is just one of the many students that came from out of state and decided to stay in the QCA. It’s the goal of Augustana to have more students stay in the area. Currently, 20.9 % of the student body is from out of state. This includes the population of international student. Of the 20 percent 10 % are staying.

However, the college hopes a new facility called the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Innovation in Health, Wellness and Human Performance will help. The building will be part of the Kinesiology program they are developing. The $16 million investment will feature classrooms, team spaces, faculty offices, a joint resource area, exercise laboratories and an aquatic center.

The aquatic center will include a 25-yard pool and therapeutic pool. The college will expand men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s club water polo, and add women’s varsity water polo.

“What we have announced today is something that will not only benefit our own students but will benefit the Quad Cities,” said Wendy Hilton-Morrow, Provost and Dean of the College of Augustana.

“This project will enable our students to bring their sense of vocational calling into careers that help build a healthier Quad Cities, a healthier America and a healthier world,” said Steve Bahls, Augustana College President.

So as the school continues to add new programs. It’s also bringing an economic boost to the area.

“A lot of students here at Augustana are from outside the area. Augustana talks about the Quad Cities a lot and we have good connections between the Quad Cities community and the campus to make sure we are showcasing everything that our community has,” said Paul Rumler Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce President.

For Soebbing, this will be home for a long time to come and she credits her success to the college.

“Everything that I do today from shooting and editing videos to maintaining our website to connecting with people all over the world. Those are all things that I learned how to do when I was in college,” said Soebbing.

The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Innovation in Health, Wellness and Human Performance will be completed in 2020.