groundbreaking ceremony

Groundbreaking for DMACC Urban Campus Student Life & STEM Center

Posted 5/29/2019

​​​​​​60,000 Square Foot Building to be Completed in Fall of 2020​

A groundbreaking ceremony was held today for a new $24-million DMACC Urban Campus building expansion and renovation complex, called “Building Community.”

The major facilities upgrade includes addition of a 60,000 square foot DMACC Student Life and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center Building that’s being built in the center of the Campus at 1100 Seventh St. in downtown Des Moines as well as renovation of Building #1, the original student center, and an expansion of Building #4, which houses an Automotive Technology program.

“We are extremely excited to embark on this new journey for DMACC Urban Campus,” said Urban Campus Provost Dr. Anne Howsare Boyens. “Our students, staff and faculty are top notch and need first-rate facilities.  This project will be a beacon for DMACC in the downtown Des Moines area and the state of Iowa.”

Howsare Boyens said this investment will not only transform the DMACC Urban Campus, but it will enhance the Urban Core and better connect DMACC to downtown Des Moines. 

The new building project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020.  Renovation of Building #1 will begin once the new building is completed. 

The first floor of the new building will house the Student Services Department, which is now located in Building #1.  That department includes academic and career advising, student financial aid and student counseling.

The second and third floors will house eight science labs, five state-of-the-art classrooms, additional faculty offices, study areas, student lounges and meeting rooms.

The southern portion of the building will feature a student welcome center and a 3,000-square-foot flexible space that can seat up to 300 people.  Two additional spaces can seat up to 130 people or be divided to meet specific needs. 

On the south side of the new building, there will be a link to Building #1 that features outdoor gathering areas, walkways and an open green space.  A unique exterior feature of the building will be two large LED digital boards that can be used to display students’ art.  

Phase two of “Building Community” is the renovation and enhancement of Building #1.  Howsare Boyens said one of the key aspects of this remodeling is the moving of the library to the central atrium of the building that will bring together the library with the academic achievement center and testing center.

“We are going to open things up a bit so the library is not as hidden,” said Howsare Boyens.  “By moving the library and the academic achievement center, students who walk into the building, can’t miss the newly renovated academic support services.”

An additional 2,800 square feet of space will be added to Building #4, also known as the Betts Building.  This will allow for more space for the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Educational Training) program, which recently moved from the Ankeny Campus to the Urban Campus.

“This project is so much more than just bricks and mortar,” said DMACC President Rob Denson.  “It’s an investment in each student who enrolls here.  Right now, DMACC Urban Campus students don’t have enough space to study, meet or just relax.  Because our classes here are so full, it also leaves little room for people in the community to utilize our facilities.  As a result, now is the time to start a new expansion and modernization of the DMACC Urban Campus.”

The original campus building was constructed more than 35 years ago.  More than 5,000 credit and non-credit students are enrolled at the DMACC Urban Campus.  The Urban Campus is the most diverse in Iowa, serving students from more than 70 countries, who speak more than 90 languages.

Shive Hattery is the project architect for the Urban Campus Renovation, while Rochon Corporation of Iowa is the general contractor.

Shive Hattery Landscape Architect Holly Reid said significant improvements are being made to the exterior of the buildings.

“Exterior improvements will include new tree-lined illuminated pedestrian walkways to improve ADA accessibility and connectivity across campus,” said Reid.  “Outdoor amenities are woven into the project such as seating areas with an integrated power supply, green space for gathering and recreation and an outdoor classroom.  Learning landscapes have been integrated into the design to support natural ecosystems and promote well-being by having several opportunities to connect with nature.”

To watch a short video from Shive Hattery about the new “Building Community,” please click here.

For more information, contact: Dr. Anne Howsare Boyens (515) 248-7206

groundbreaking ceremony

With the ground too soggy to use a bulldozer, DMACC President Rob Denson (right), former DMACC Urban Campus Provost and Vice President Dr. Mary Chapman (left) and current DMACC Urban Campus Provost Dr. Anne Howsare Boyens use a hand garden trowel and a bucket of potting soil to re-enact a “groundbreaking” ceremony for the new $24 million expansion and renovation of the DMACC Urban Campus.  A 60,000-square-foot Student Life & STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center will serve as the centerpiece of the “Building Community” project to be completed in the fall of 2020.​


Return to News