The St. Ambrose University stadium planning process has reached an exciting new milestone, and we wanted to share it widely with our neighbors, including the residents of Davenport and the Quad-Cities.

 In 2009, the University purchased the St. Vincent’s property near to our campus for future growth, including the development of our own stadium and athletic fields.

 The university’s need for such development is clear: With 23 varsity sports and a very active intramural sports program, St. Ambrose has run out of space for athletics and campus recreation. Our student-athletes currently use close to 20 off-campus sites, even as far away as Muscatine, for practice and play. In order to remain competitive in student recruitment and better serve all our students, we must improve our athletics and recreational space.

 Previously, our concept plans for the land were grander than some thought the site allowed. Our neighbors shared displeasure with how the initially proposed use of the property might impact their quality of life, and for that reason we slowed our efforts to allow for reflection and reconsideration of our approach.

 Because we value what they think, we asked for our neighbors’ thoughts, listened and adjusted our plans to reflect what we heard. We needed to balance the input with strategic planning for our institution. If we can’t keep up with what students expect as basic offerings, then we will not be able to maintain our enrollment, which plays a crucial role in maintaining our reputation for academic quality and strength.

 Thursday evening, St. Ambrose shared with the Neighborhood Relations Council a draft plan that scales back our original thinking. The newly proposed stadium’s size, scope and location reflect the feedback we heard, but still meets the current and future needs of our campus community. We believe we have proposed a viable compromise.

 The current plan includes a stadium that could seat up to 2,500 persons, allowing for less than half of the attendance we originally imagined. The footprint of the stadium has also shifted to a site on the property that is least disruptive to our neighbors. These changes reflect the feedback from the community that a larger facility would affect traffic and create excess noise at the site.

Impact studies for the revised plan are being finalized, but all indications are that they will be well within the city’s development guidelines for such concerns as traffic, parking and water run-off, and that anticipated game day noise will be within approved levels. We have thought through landscaping to minimize the visual impact of the stadium, and are committed to continuing our partnership to mitigate inconveniences to the surrounding community when the stadium is in use.

 Now we want to share our plans with the greater community. Next steps for the project include a 90-day review of the plan with the neighbors. This is an additional, pre-Planned Institutional District (PID) process, which we agreed to undertake as a good-faith measure to more fully inform and engage our neighbors prior to the city’s formal PID process.

 We appreciate Davenport’s support of the University and look forward to sharing details and visual renderings of the proposed development with the greater community.

Mike Poster is Vice President of Finance and Paul J. Foley is Director of Government and Community Relations for St. Ambrose University.