Groundbreaking Scheduled for Hegeler Hall at DACC
Former Army Reserve Center Is a Tribute to Beloved Benefactor
The Julius W. Hegeler II legacy continues to grow at DACC.
The Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation has approved a gift to help the College expand and enhance an educational facility for nursing, medical imaging, and health-information technology. This new center will be located in a former U.S. Army Reserve, located at 2408 E. Main Street, that abuts the northeast corner of the campus. A groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation project will be held Friday, June 25, at 11 am at the facility.
Over the past decade, Julius Hegeler would often visit DACC as a member of the DACC Foundation Board and look for opportunities to help improve the campus facilities. His first project was to fund construction of the majestic Garden Gateway that welcomes students onto campus. He also invested millions of dollars in upgrading the Technology Center and the Center for Ornamental Horticulture—both of which bear his name as a living testament to his generous support and love for the College.
Julius’s final project before he “folded his wings” on July 5, 2019, was to oversee the start of rehabbing a former Carnegie Library to become DACC’s new center for students of the arts. Julius had a $2 million bequest to fund construction and asked that the center be named in honor of 17-year DACC President Dr. Alice Marie Jacobs. The College plans to unveil the completely renovated Jacobs Hall in late May.
Julius’s latest gift to DACC has come posthumously, with the Hegeler Foundation recognizing what DACC meant to Julius during his life. As Board Member Lois Wise says, “We saw the need that DACC has to expand its healthcare education, and the community’s need for more people to enter into healthcare professions. Knowing Julius, we have no doubt that he would have wanted the Hegeler Foundation to help out. The Board’s vote was unanimous.”
The Hegeler Foundation’s gift will help fund a project that will cost an estimated $5.7 million to complete. As DACC President Stephen Nacco says, “With this big boost we’re getting from Julius, we’re hoping to be able to fund the remainder of the project through State and federal support.”
DACC Foundation Executive Director Tonya Hill had submitted a grant application to the Hegeler Foundation in February and received official word in letter that arrived on Apr. 13. The Hegeler Foundation has stipulated that construction begin on or before July 2022. But DACC has already begun a process to hire an architect and hopes to have work begin in this summer. As Facilities Executive Director Doug Adams says, “The first phase will be most likely to address some minor asbestos abatement as well as ADA issues, such as in installing an elevator between the building’s two floors and in making the restrooms accessible.”
The former Army Reserve was built in 1958 and has been vacant since 2010. Even so, the building has been regularly maintained and as Mr. Adams says, “The building has good bones.”
The two-story main building will be renovated and converted into the healthcare-education center. Academic Affairs Vice President Dr. Natalie Page is developing an academic plan for the facility, which has a capacity for more than a dozen classrooms. She says, “Programs in nursing and medical imaging will benefit greatly by moving into a more spacious facility. We would have the opportunity for program growth and enhanced educational support, such as by locating a healthcare simulation lab in this building.”
The groundbreaking ceremony gives the College and DACC Foundation an opportunity to recognize Julius and the Hegeler Foundation for the much-needed boost this gift will provide for students in healthcare professions.
In a fitting tribute, the name Hegeler Hall pays homage to the person who will forever hold a special place in DACC hearts. As Ms. Hill says, “Julius is still our angel.”