DMACC Board Approves Move for the Evelyn K. Davis Center

Posted 12/12/2018

Driven by its successes, new, larger facility expands the footprint of the DMACC Urban Campus.

At their December 10th meeting, DMACC's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the move and expansion of the Evelyn K. Davis (EKD) Center for Working Families from their current location at 801 University Avenue in Des Moines to a new building at 1171 Seventh Street, next door to the DMACC Urban Campus.

“We've had great success serving Central Iowa's unemployed and underemployed populations since we opened our doors in 2012," said Marvin DeJear, Director of the Evelyn K. Davis Center. “This expansion gives us the capacity to serve more people and further meet the needs of the community. Building onto our existing space would cost millions of dollars more than our move into the Anawim building across the street," said DeJear.

​DeJear said C Fresh Market, EKD's current neighbor, needs to expand, too.

“C Fresh Market plans to remodel because they too are in need of more square footage. Our move gives them that opportunity," noted DeJear

The DMACC Board approved the sale of EKD's current building to C Fresh Market for $700,000 and the purchase of the Anawim building for $1.5 million, which is 23,000-square-feet, nearly doubling the size of the Evelyn K. Davis Center.

“The proximity of our property was a perfect fit for the master plan of DMACC's Urban Campus.  We were happy to facilitate the sale and allow them to continue to expand," said Russ Frazier, President of Anawim Housing.

The relocation will allow the EKD Center to grow their programs and services, including the Financial Empowerment Center, YouthBuild​, Workforce Training Academy (WTA) orientations, English as a Second Language (ESL) and job coaching classes.

“I'm particularly excited about hosting WTA IT Apprenticeship classes in our new location along with our Men on the Move program that gives donated business clothes to EKD clients," said DeJear.

He added the new building will become even more a part of the DMACC Urban Campus and will be located on the bus line, making it easier for people to access the new facility.

“With the new location and expansion, the Evelyn K. Davis Center and the DMACC Urban Campus will together serve an even greater role helping and preparing these underserved populations for employment and success," said Dr. Anne Howsare-Boyens, Provost of the DMACC Urban Campus. “We're creating a great campus environment to serve more people."

DMACC's Retired Vice President of Workforce Development, Mary Chapman was EKD Center's first leader. She hired DeJear as the Center's first Director. Today, he oversees a staff of 18 who last year served 11,000 Central Iowans. In total, more than 28,000 people have been served by the EKD Center. The EKD Center is funded through a public and private partnership.

“This announcement is a win for everyone involved," said Rob Denson, President and CEO of DMACC. “EKD and C Fresh Market both needed more space. And, Anawim was at a place where a move would benefit their organization."

Denson noted there is an ongoing need to serve people who are unemployed and underemployed. He credited a number of organizations and individuals for creating the EKD model including, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, United Way of Central Iowa, Prairie Meadows, Iowa Workforce Development, retired Principal CEO Barry Griswell, DMACC's Mary Chapman and others for the partnership and resources that created the EKD Center and is responsible for its ongoing success. Denson noted that all donors will be recognized for their important contributions in the new facility.

​The EKD expansion also represents another part of a major transformation taking place at the DMACC Urban Campus. It includes:

  • A new, planned $24-million Student Center and Academic Complex
  • Expansion of the Ford ASSET Auto Technician Program that has already moved  to Urban's Betts Building
  • Planned renovations to Urban's Building 1

DeJear said the Anawim building is basically move-in ready. “We'll have some minor remodeling, including adding some classrooms and IT infrastructure. We hope to move over spring break." he said.​


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