The same year Landmarks Illinois highlighted the Nelson Factory on its Most Endangered list, the property was deeded to Lewis and Clark Community College for use as a branch campus of the community college. The college undertook a multi-year redevelopment of the property, keeping intact the buildings’ red brick façades and the multitude of arch-shaped windows and skylights— legacies of Nelson’s aim to improve the working conditions of his employees with light and fresh air. The project was completed as a unique partnership between a number of educational institutions: Lewis and Clark Community College, Edwardsville High School and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. After three phases of projects that completed in 2007, the Nelson Factory now has a new life as the N.O. Nelson Campus, serving Lewis and Clark Community College students, Edwardsville High School students and SIUE engineering students. The facilities offer numerous classrooms and lecture halls, event spaces, science and technology labs and administration offices. An example to educational institutions throughout Illinois, Lewis and Clark Community College’s Nelson Campus succeeded in increasing educational opportunities for students, forging new and innovative partnerships and saving a place that matters to the community.
“Lewis and Clark’s repurposing of the N.O. Nelson Plumbing Manufacturing facility as a comprehensive community college campus has proven to be one of the most dramatic and effective examples of how to redesign historically significant, endangered facilities and make them truly valuable in service to the public.” – Dr. Dale Chapman, President, Lewis and Clark Community College.
(Photo credit: Liz Chilsen)