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The Future is Coming: Are You In?

Group of students with arms in a collective cheer.

March 2017


All in for Ambrose is the theme of the newest phase of Building Our Future: The Campaign for St. Ambrose.

"All" is the operative word, said SAU Vice President for Advancement Jim Stangle '82.

With the new Wellness and Recreation Center on pace to open in time for fall semester, Stangle said widening the campaign's circle of donors is his office's mission in the coming months.

"We are very pleased with the large number of first-time donors who have made significant gifts to help us get this project launched and nearing completion," Stangle said. "We also know that when this building opens, every St. Ambrose alum is going to feel a much-deserved sense of pride. We welcome every contribution of any size, from any supporter, as we work to complete this campaign."

Currently, the campaign is within $3 million of achieving its $18.5 million goal, and nearly 500 valued donors have helped, said Sally Crino '01 MBA, campaign director and associate vice president for Advancement.

"Now is your time to step up," she said of alumni, students and friends of SAU who may have been waiting to join the effort. "It is really about participation. It's about everybody joining in."

To that end, the All in for Ambrose public phase of the campaign will be the focus of the 2017 SAU Day of Giving on April 25.

Margaret Babbitt, director of annual giving, said the day's trademark hashtag will be #135K2day in celebration of the 135th anniversary of the university's founding. She said the ambitious goal also was set with the hope that recent alumni will be more motivated than ever to participate as the new wellness facility begins to take shape.

Babbitt and her crew will set up shop for the entire day at the Rogalski Center, right in the shadow of the new facility. Tours of the Wellness and Recreation Center will be available throughout the day and food trucks will be on site to help keep the party going until 8 p.m.

"We really want local and regional alumni to come to campus on their lunch hour or after work," Babbitt said. "It's a chance to celebrate the progress we are making on this amazing new building."

Work on the 80,000-square-foot facility was constant throughout an accommodating Midwest winter. Workers even were able to brick the building's exterior deep into the month of January.

Physical Plant Director Jim Hannon '84 was a student when the PE Center opened and since has overseen the construction of 14 new structures on and off campus. He said this project has been the most daunting in his experience.

That's owed in large part to the new building's sheer size, but the challenge has been compounded by the need to simultaneously renovate parts of the PE Center while keeping it open for athletics events and recreational use of the weight and fitness room.

There also were a few in-progress revisions to the original plans, most of which provided an opportunity to add needed features without adding much in cost. For instance, Hannon noted, the PE Center will benefit from a new HVAC system and a fresh coat of paint throughout.

Plus, he said, "There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen on this one. That has its challenges. There is a lot of passion for this building and a lot of people want their voices heard, but that's a good problem."

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