Carroll Campus

​​ Carroll Campus used to be a bathhouse.
The Carroll Campus was formerly the American Legion Bath House and Swimming Pool.
The former American Legion Bath House and Swimming Pool
 The former American Legion Bath House and Swimming Pool
The former American Legion Bath House and Swimming Pool

The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Carroll Campus came into being under an unusual set of circumstances. The issue of access to higher education was especially sensitive to both Carroll and Audubon counties after efforts to receive approval from the Board of Regents to establish a fourth campus for western Iowa—to be located in Carroll—was rejected.

Iowa Law specified that county officials must decide with which merged area they would seek affiliation, and then petition that board for acceptance. What made the situation unusual for Carroll and Audubon counties was the possibility that a merged area would develop with four to six surrounding counties. However, this possibility vanished when the other counties decided to affiliate with Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City or Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. This development left Carroll and Audubon counties unattached to a larger merged area.

As a result, Carroll and Audubon counties became an "island" in west-central Iowa, unaffiliated with any two-year public institution. In 1970 a committee from the two counties met with the boards of Area XI, XII and XIII. Initially, each of the three boards was reluctant to invite the two counties to join their merged area, the major issue being the distance from each of the three administrative centers, which was approximately 90 miles. The boards were also concerned that the two counties would demand services that would be difficult and costly to provide and that the counties' assessed valuations would not generate the revenue needed to build a campus for several years. Ultimately, the Area XI Board accepted the request for affiliation with the understanding that basic services would be provided, but the development of independent facilities would occur over several years.

Campus Location

The greatest challenge of locating a campus in Carroll came from within the community. While there was minimal opposition to creating a community college campus, the geographic location of the site was hotly contested. City leaders offered three possible sites. The first site was located on the east edge of Carroll near the current New Hope Village location; the second site was located on the west side of Carroll east of the General Electric Building, and the third site was on the south side of town west of the Rolling Hills development. Of the three proposed sites, DMACC President Joe Borgen preferred the 15 acre property east of New Hope Village. The New Hope Village Board of Directors offered the land to DMACC at a cost of $6,000 per acre. Due to limited funds, President Borgen was hesitant to move forward because the cost of the land purchase would cut back the building plan for the campus.

As negotiations slowed, the swimming pool site, located at 906 N. Grant Road, was presented as a possible option. This location formerly existed as the American Legion Bath House and Swimming Pool and was no longer in service. The city council had just passed a resolution to knock down the bath house and the tank had already been filled in. Art Neu contacted President Borgen and offered this as an additional option. President Borgen and his wife drove to Carroll on a Sunday afternoon, and it quickly became the preferred site. The park areas around the property gave it more of a "campus feel" and the proximity to the Carroll Recreation Center offered possibilities to rent classroom space and provide access to an auditorium. The DMACC Board unanimously approved the 906 North Grant Road location.

The 906 North Grant Road location was preferred by many of the city leaders; however, the public actively protested against this location and formed picket lines and demonstrations to voice their opposition. Public outcry arose because the little league fields would need to be relocated. The city council scheduled a hearing in the council chambers, but the crowd was too large and it was moved to the auditorium in the Carroll Recreation Center. Many residents spoke in opposition of locating the DMACC Campus at the swimming pool site. DMACC Board President, Susan Clouse made it clear that DMACC would not build at any of the other proposed sites.

Following the public testimony, the council voted five to one to turn over the swimming pool site to DMACC and move the baseball and softball fields to the north edge of Carroll. Due to the unique architecture of the bath house, a decision was made to incorporate its distinctive historic design into the building project. The bath house still stands today, serving as the main office for the Carroll Campus.

A temporary site was established at the Carroll Glass building. Automotive and Building Trades classes were offered at this site while core courses continued to be offered at Carroll High School until the campus opened in 1986. As enrollment continued to grow, the first expansion project was completed in the spring of 1992. The addition included five classrooms, a computer lab, faculty offices, an ICN classroom and an advisors' office. The second expansion project for the campus was completed in December of 2003. This addition included space for the Automotive Technology and Building Trades programs, the Heartland AEA, three additional classrooms, faculty offices and restrooms.

Curriculum Offered

Following the formal approval of the new affiliation, the administrative team pursued several possibilities for expanding services to the two counties. The two major areas of curriculum development called for incorporating the one-year nursing program, operated by St. Anthony Hospital, and expanding adult education programs and services. In the fall of 1971, the Practical Nursing Program began in Carroll, and Carroll Bennett served as the program administrator. The nursing faculty consisted of Joanne Schulte "Lead Instructor," Kay Stock and Jan Frisbee. The nursing program was housed in an old convent located adjacent to St. Anthony Hospital until 1986.The first nursing program graduates received their diplomas in 1972.

In 1972 the college, in collaboration with area high schools, proposed establishing high school programming in the areas of building trades and auto mechanics. A former auto dealership was rented to provide this programming, and this facility soon became the center of all college activities.

A few years later in 1975, adult education classes began on campus, and by 1979, Kris Phillips had been hired as the first director of the Carroll Campus, charged with expanding academic offerings. In the fall of 1979, the first "core courses" were added. Educator Jim Knott taught the first core courses, offering both English I and English II from 6:00 p.m. until midnight at Carroll High School. Shortly thereafter, social sciences and business courses were included as additional offerings.

Another popular program, Veterans Farm Diploma, was offered in the evening at St. Anthony's Hospital. This program provided veterans, who were engaged in full-time farming as an occupation, the opportunity to earn an agriculture-based diploma upon completion of the course. By scheduling evening classes, students could receive full tuition reimbursement and grants with minimum out-of-pocket costs. Art Miller, the instructor-coordinator of this area of curriculum development, was influential in building a large program, and secured Congressman Tom Harkin to speak at each annual graduation.

Carroll Campus Leadership

DMACC hired its first Carroll Campus dean in 1985. Dean Ken Shibata served the Carroll Campus from 1985-87 and was instrumental in constructing the first on-site campus facility. In addition, he started the Office Practice program and added core courses leading to degree programming.

After Dean Shibata's departure, Don Kerr served as the interim dean during the 1987-88 academic year. He was followed by interim dean, Tom Nelson. Jim Knott was hired as dean on July 1, 1988. Mr. Knott served as dean and later provost until June 30, 2006. Steve Schulz was hired on July 1, 2006, and served as the Carroll Campus provost until accepting a position as North Iowa Area Community College President in December 2013. John Brockelsby served as interim provost until Dr. Joel Lundstrom was named provost in May of 2014.

Partnering with the Community

Strong partnerships have been the backbone of development and continued growth at the Carroll Campus. The support of both St. Anthony Regional Hospital and Carroll Community School District was instrumental in the development and implementation of courses being offered in Carroll. The support of these institutions continues to be the foundation of many of the programs offered on the DMACC Carroll Campus. Relationships with local businesses, the University of Northern Iowa, Buena Vista University, area high schools and the City of Carroll provide diverse programming beginning in high school and ending with a bachelor's degree.

The DMACC Carroll Campus is home to two 2 + 2 programs. The 2 + 2 programs at the Carroll Campus enable students to complete their initial two-year degree through DMACC and then seamlessly transition into their final two years at a four-year institution. This allows them to finish a four-year program with a bachelor's degree at a lower cost.

The first 2 + 2 program began in 1994-95 when college and community leaders were attempting to provide access to four-year college programs to geographically-bound citizens in western Iowa. A 2 + 2 program was developed with the University of Northern Iowa to provide an "on campus" four-year degree in elementary education. To date, over 120 elementary certified teachers have graduated from the DMACC/UNI 2 + 2 Elementary Education program, and many of those graduates are employed in area schools. The University of Northern Iowa also offered a technology management degree for several years in Carroll as well, but the program was terminated in 2009 due to low enrollment.

In the fall of 2009, Buena Vista University began its collaboration with the DMACC Carroll Campus, offering a 2 + 2 program in business. This addition was made to satisfy the increasing number of requests DMACC was receiving regarding access to a four-year business program.

On May 11, 2015, DMACC renamed the Carroll Campus Library “The Founders' Library” to honor the work of Art Neu, Jim Wilson, and Jim Knott, whose support and advocacy has forever changed the educational opportunities in the region.

Each year has brought change and progress to the DMACC Carroll Campus. DMACC continues to enjoy tremendous community support and cooperation. The Carroll Campus has become a partner and leader in providing access to corporate training, which is enhanced through strong faculty/staff, administrative leadership and the DMACC Board of Directors.