Nearly 200 Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) students have a new place to learn after the State of Iowa announced in Spring 2013 the demolition of the Iowa Building. The students didn't have far to go. DMACC purchased the Capitol Center located at 1300 Des Moines Street, next door to the Iowa Building.
“After the state announced its plans to raze the Iowa Building, we had to very quickly evaluate new locations,” said Sally Schroeder, Dean of DMACC's Health and Public Services Department. “We were fortunate the Capitol Medical Office Building was available.” Demolition of the Iowa building is currently underway.
DMACC purchased the Capitol Medical Office Building in the Summer of 2013 for $1.2 million and quickly began making renovations to accommodate nursing, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and early childhood education classes. DMACC programs will initially be located on the second floor of the building, but DMACC hopes to use more of the 25,000-square-foot building in the future as enrollment increases and new programs are added.
“We had just over a month to install classroom labs, computers, carpeting and perform many other renovations,” said Schroeder. “It was a very hectic remodeling project.” DMACC President Rob Denson said it was necessary. “This facility will help DMACC meet increasing area demands for skilled professionals.”
Schroeder said a highlight of the new facility is the simulation lab that features a robot patient that can be programmed to have various illnesses. They can even talk. “These patent simulators are an important learning tool. Students will be able to access and evaluate symptoms and problems they will encounter in real hospital settings,” said Schroder.
All of the classes originally were offered at the DMACC Urban Campus, but were moved to the Iowa Building because of the severe space shortage at Urban. “We've been very limited to grow our programs because all of our classrooms are full,” said Laura Douglas, Provost of the DMACC Urban Des Moines Campus. “Capitol Medical Office building is an extension of the Urban Campus. It will be beneficial to these students and the Urban Campus.”
Classes will be offered in Capitol Medical Monday through Saturday. More than 2,300 students are enrolled in DMACC's 19 health and public service programs and degrees, which are offered on six campuses.