The keys to the former St. Clara’s Manor near Lincoln’s central business district were officially handed over to Lincoln College at a special signing ceremony on Wednesday, August 22. The former senior care center at 200 S. Fifth St in Lincoln is being donated by St. Clara’s Senior Services.
Lincoln College plans to convert the now-vacant facility into housing to meet the needs of the school as it grows its four-year undergraduate degree programs and prepares to offer post-graduate degrees.
“We truly appreciate the generosity of St. Clara’s Senior Services in transferring this facility to Lincoln College,” Lincoln College President David Gerlach said. “We also appreciate the strong support that the community showed Lincoln College after we announced our plans last year and as those plans moved through the city’s review process.”
“St. Clara’s and Lincoln College share long histories, with the College dating back to 1865 and the roots of St. Clara’s going back to 1886, when St. Clara’s Hospital was first conceived,” Clyde Reynolds, President of the non-profit St. Clara’s Manor, said. “We pride ourselves on being an extension of the community and see our new facility as the latest reflection of a tradition of commitment, sacrifice and caring.
“With the opening of the new St. Clara’s Rehab and Senior Care we wanted to create a win-win for the community. We needed to grow and expand our services to meet the needs of the 21st century, but we did not want to leave a vacant facility in the heart of the city,” said Reynolds. “This transfer creates that win-win. As Lincoln College grows, they will be able to adapt this facility to their needs and assure that it continues to contribute to the vibrancy of the central business district.”
The new St. Clara’s Rehab and Senior Care facility was constructed at 1450 Castle Manor Drive in Lincoln, with resident move-in on February 14, 2018. The new building has 106 beds, many of those being private rooms, and a modern floor plan layout throughout the building. There is a state-of-the-art therapy gym, private short-term rehab patient rooms, and a separate entrance for outpatient therapy services as well as a designated area for traditional skilled nursing beds as well as four bariatric private suites.
The College plans to invest about $2 million in renovations at the former St. Clara’s Manor, initially adding between 65 and 80 beds to the school’s existing stock of residence halls. Regular shuttle service between the facility and the campus will keep the impact on traffic to a minimum. Off-street parking will also be provided for students that do have their own vehicles. As with all of Lincoln College’s current campus housing options, meal service will be provided and there will be no kitchens in individual units.
The construction timetable has not yet been determined, but will be phased to align with the school’s projected housing needs.
This will be the second expanded housing project that Lincoln College has undertaken in the past two years. In 2017, the College renovated a blighted housing complex adjacent to the school and converted the units into the Lynx Village apartments for students. That project was made possible by a generous contribution from the Woods Foundation.
Gerlach noted that an upsurge in commuter students has eased housing pressures on the College for the 2018-19 school year.
“The number of local students attending Lincoln College has grown significantly this year,” Gerlach noted. “We couldn’t be more pleased about that, because it shows that students in Lincoln and Logan County are choosing to continue their education right here in their home community.”
Gerlach noted that keeping those students attending college locally adds to the College’s $43 million annual economic impact for the region. The College has roughly the same economic impact and employment that the Lincoln Developmental Center had when it closed.
With the Fall 2018 schedule, Lincoln College now offers 12 bachelor’s degree programs in addition to its traditional associate degree offerings. The College is also expanding its adult education program, Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE), to the Lincoln campus. That brings the ABE program to four central Illinois campuses in Normal, Peoria, Oglesby and now Lincoln.
“With our expanded degree offerings, our traditional bachelor’s and associate degree programs, our accelerated adult education program and our plans to begin offering master’s degrees in the near future, Lincoln College is committed to making a complete range of higher education services available to the residents of Logan County,” Gerlach added. “At the same time, this donation will allow us to continue to attract and house students from across Illinois and from around the world who are looking for an affordable, high-quality private education in a diverse environment.”