Originally Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2013, 11:00 pm
Last Updated: Aug. 26, 2013, 2:06 pm

Editorial: A Q-C point of pride

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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
Kai Swanson, executive assistant to the president of Augustana College, talks about the history of a historic stained glass window in Old Main during a press tour on Wednesday Aug. 21, 2013. The window was originally the centerpiece of Old Main's chapel. As a result of the recent renovation of the building, the window has been 'revealed' in its entirety for the first time since 1959, when an earlier remodeling split the room into two floors, making the top half of the window only visible from a small alcove on Old Main's third floor.
It's always a treat when we get to visit Augustana College's wooded acres and soak in the beauty, history and alluring sense of community evident everywhere.

Fortunately, recent renovations at the campus in the heart of Rock Island made a stop an absolute must. Just as students were to begin arriving for the fall semester, college officials shared a sneak peek at the school's new Center for Student Life (CSL).

It is an impressive facility which demonstrates the ability of one of America's top-rated liberal arts colleges to marry the college's rich historical past with the state-of-the-art present.

Indeed, with all of its recent ambitious capital projects, Augustana has succeeded in creating a campus for 21st century students that honors and celebrates its 20th and 19th century roots.

The one-of-a-kind student center is just one of the changes on display as the college celebrates more than $40 million in capital projects.

The 35,000-square-foot Center for Student Life, which is now part of the Thomas Tredway Library, offers students a dining experience like few others on campuses anywhere. The library also was reorganized to better suit the needs of today's students.

A top-to-bottom meticulous restoration and, yes, modernization, of Old Main isn't to be missed.

Just a stone's throw away from it all is the ongoing work on the Knowlton Complex, including new structures and upgrades to Augie's track and football fields. The hope is to have it ready for the Vikings' first home game and fully complete by homecoming. It was an ambitious undertaking and represents yet another significant investment in our community by Augustana.

Indeed, the college is one of Rock Island and the greater Quad-Cities' biggest assets. It employs 650 people and boasts an economic impact to the Q-C of more than $157 million a year. Augustana buys more than $18 million in goods and services annually from Q-C businesses. And that's BEFORE the investment in jobs and money from the college's building program.

None of those things could happen, of course, without a legion of generous alumni, many of whom live in our community.

Hats off to them, to college staff, board of trustees and everyone connected to these projects which help to make Augustana College a point of pride for the Quad-Cities.