EICC proposes new urban campus in Downtown Davenport

August 14, 2014

The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) Board of Trustees has approved a Letter of Intent (LOI) to explore a public-private development partnership with Restoration St. Louis.  The proposed project enables EICC to create a full-service urban campus to be located within several downtown Davenport buildings, including:  the First Federal Bank and First Midwest Bank buildings on 3rd Street and EICC’s Scott Community College (SCC) Kahl Educational Center, including the historic Capitol Theatre.

Proposed new SCC Downtown Campus“This is a rare instance when our commitment to the regional vision of developing, attracting and retaining talent meets with the unique opportunity to do so,” said EICC Chancellor Don Doucette. “We envision creating a stunning, purpose-built campus that attracts college students of all ages to high-quality, forward-looking programs located in a vibrant, modern downtown learning space.”

As currently envisioned, the two adjacent bank buildings will be renovated into a new 80,000 square-foot campus featuring: classrooms, computer labs, a science lab, student commons, outdoor plaza, convening and meeting space, and administrative offices. The Kahl Educational Center will be a highly programmed mixed use building, fully renovated and converted into residential units, retail space, and a full restoration of the landmark Capitol Theatre as a movie theater.

The new full-service urban campus will allow Scott Community College to more than double its capacity downtown to 1,500-plus students. In addition, EICC’s Continuing Education programs, currently serving more than 30,000 students annually, will be integrated into the new campus.  

“We view this project as the next logical step in the college’s commitment to the downtown area,” said EICC Board of Trustees Chair Bob Gallagher. “That is a commitment that traces back more than 30 years and includes such milestones as opening of the Urban Center on River Drive in the 1980s and, of course, the Kahl Educational Center in 1996.”

 Proposed downtown SCC Campus
Click images to enlarge
 Proposed downtown Kahl restoration
 Proposed downtown SCC Campus

This initiative grew directly from EICC’s extensive strategic planning process in 2013, which included input garnered during 23 business, industry and community forums.

“This is really an exciting opportunity to meet not only the growing needs of a local educational resource but to do so while creating a major economic development project. We will be repurposing several significant -- and mostly vacant -- downtown buildings," commented Sam Estep of Restoration St. Louis. “Plus, there has been a tremendous amount of interest and enthusiasm in the future of the iconic Capitol Theatre,” concluded Estep.

Project costs are calculated at approximately $50 million. Financing for this innovative public-private partnership will come from a variety of sources, including Historic Preservation Tax Credits, contributed equity, conventional bank financing, bond issuance proceeds, and an EICC capital campaign.

The urban campus will be sustainable under the development plan and the current operating model of EICC. The project is financially structured to require no property tax increase for its construction and development. New revenue from the Kahl Building commercial operations will be used to meet the majority of the long-term debt service, along with proceeds from the sale or lease of other vacated EICC facilities.

More specific project details will be determined as both parties complete this exploratory stage of the project which is expected to last for approximately 120 days. Pending a determination of project feasibility, the project could commence as early as the middle of 2015 with a target date of fall semester 2016 for holding classes in the new facilities.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) includes Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges. Stretched along the banks of the Mississippi River, the district covers all of Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott Counties, as well as parts of Cedar and Louisa Counties. The district enrolls 13,000 credit students and 30,000 noncredit students annually, and offers both college transfer degrees and more than 50 career and technical program options. EICC’s administrative offices are located in Davenport, IA.