Project Updates and Community Impact
CONGRATULATIONS to the One Heart Team!
The “OneHeart: A Place for Hope & Healing” project in downtown Rapid City is a long time labor of love finally coming to fruition.
The campus is located on the site of the old NAU complex – with the 80,000 sqft Administrative Building, the old Animal Health Facility, a Library, and three towers of former dorms for NAU students.
In 2012, the Dream Design Team acquired the facility – which had since been abandoned by NAU and was in need of significant repair and was a bit of an anomaly to most.
What exactly can be done with a set of former dorms? And what types of programs could make the best use of a campus like this?
DDI’s front man and the master of vision for these kinds of long shot projects, Hani Shafai, saw this impossible challenge and jumped in full tilt.
Hani and the DDI Team worked to remake the campus, re-envisioning the dorms into full service, fully remodeled studio apartments featuring a small kitchenette, bathroom and shower, twin beds, and free wifi and cable TV.
There were also a handful of bedroom suites featuring communal restrooms and access to a large family space and shared kitchen on the first floor of the building.
These apartments rented out for very reasonable rates – with all utilities and amenities included, and students and young professionals from all over Rapid City lined up in spades to take part.
The “College Station” project was always brimming at capacity – with wait lists 20-30+ deep from international students looking for a safe place to call home to working folks looking to keep a reasonable and doable housing budget.
On the commercial side, the former service buildings of the NAU campus also saw a variety of remodels along the way.
The administrative offices initially housed the United Tribes Technical College – a satellite of the North Dakota technical program educating students from the five state region.
The DDI team also cut out several additional windows to open the space to house a fitness facility in the east end of the admin office space.
The old Library became the home of the South Dakota Historic Society’s Archaeological Research Center – a professional office that catalogs precious artifacts recovered in South Dakota.
And finally, the former Animal Health Center also got a remake and housed several smaller professional services as well.
While Pennington County eventually acquired the Administrative Offices to house their CARE Center for Addiction Treatment, the remainder of the NAU Campus still had a greater call and purpose on the horizon.
Through the determination and dreams of local philanthropist Ray Hillenbrand and a team of local leaders from Rapid City Collective Impact, the campus was reimagined once again as a hub of services that’d be available to the most vulnerable among us and offer everything all in one place that’d be needed to help struggling individuals become resourced enough to take major steps toward healing and the hope of a better future.
Today, that dream gets more concrete with construction beginning on the incoming “One Heart” facility.
We are so proud of the work of so many in town to bring this vision to life, and so grateful to have played our small part in it.
Check out the updates on the start up of construction on the site today in the Rapid City Journal.
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