New Center for Innovation in Health, Wellness and Human Performance

Melida Castro

Augustana College is expanding opportunities for students in health-related majors and the athletics department through The Austin E. Knowlton Center for Innovation in Health, Wellness and Human Performance. The building is aimed to be completed by 2020
The construction of the building is being planned to honor the late Mr. Knowlton, who also sponsors the Augustana honors program, according to the Augustana website.
“It is named after his foundation that provided an $8 million challenge grant to support new programs and the building itself,” Ashleigh Johnston said, Augustana’s director of public relations and social media. “We also wanted the name to encapsulate the learning environment that’s being created. The building will have collaborative learning spaces, labs and an aquatic center.”
The major focus of the building is the addition of a kinesiology major at Augustana College. Kinesiology is the study of the mechanics of body movements.
Johnston explained the college’s expectations and motivations to introduce this new program and investment on it, “Augustana students have a strong reputation for excelling in the health sciences. We also know demand for jobs in health fields, including kinesiology, continues to grow. Augustana students are in an excellent position to fill these needs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, students with a kinesiology background could fill jobs in five of the 20 fastest-growing occupations. The goal is to provide new, innovative spaces to continue to propel our students forward and prepare them for rewarding careers.”
The new building is going to be located in between Carlsson Evald Hall and the Abbey Art Studios at 35th Street and 7th Avenue. This will be in front of the athletics department’s main building, the Carver P.E. Center. Augustana is also hoping to expand the athletics department in the new Knowlton Center.
Michael Zapolski, the director of athletics said, “From an academic perspective, I believe that a significant number of prospective student-athlete recruits will express strong interest in the kinesiology major. This academic major will align with Augustana’s strong reputation in the sciences.
“In terms of athletics, a new and larger pool will be a major enhancement for our men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs, allowing our coaching staff to recruit additional team members which will improve both our depth and overall competitiveness. The new pool also allows for the future addition of men’s and women’s water polo as varsity sports.”
Students, specially students majoring in biology and other health related majors, have started to find curiosity in kinesiology and how it’s going to benefit them as students. Freshman Lilliana Andujar majoring in biology said, “I think because science is always developing, we should open up new doors to different ways for us as students to study. That so, adding this extension to the science department for a completely new focus in the aspect of science will be really good.”