The Maytag Proposal
Triggering a unique beginning for a college campus in November 1992, Maytag Corporation's CEO Leonard Hadley contacted DMACC President Joseph Borgen to ask if the college would have an interest in starting a campus in Newton, IA, if a facility, land and funding were donated. The six-acre site was two blocks west of the Newton Square, adjacent to Maytag headquarters. The building was constructed in 1950 to produce defense equipment for the Korean War, later used as a machine shop that produced appliance parts, and most recently had been a warehouse. Hadley proposed gutting the facility, adding a second floor, and constructing an auditorium, conference center, offices, classrooms and labs. The facility would house some Maytag functions, primarily training facilities and product displays. The auditorium and conference center would be available to DMACC, Maytag and the public; the college would be free to construct the remainder of the facility to meet its needs.
A formal announcement of the project was made on December 16, 1992 at the Newton Public Library by Maytag CEO Hadley and Richard Haines, President of Maytag Company. President Borgen confirmed that the DMACC Board of Directors had approved the proposal. Borgen noted that "this is the first time in Iowa where a nationally recognized community college, a world-class research university and a Fortune 500 international corporation have pooled their individual talents and resources in such a mutually beneficial and far-reaching project." He also announced that Carroll Bennett, a DMACC Dean and a native of Newton, had been selected to be the Executive Dean on the campus.
Alvin Borchers, Newton Mayor, said that the creation of a community college campus in Newton is one of the most significant events in the city's history. He said the city would benefit through increased job opportunities, as well as potential supporting businesses and long-range economic development.
Martin Jischke, President of Iowa State University, said ISU will be campus partners in engineer-related courses and technology transfer. He noted that ISU and Maytag had worked together in the past and would do expanded offerings in graduate courses.
Leonard Hadley noted that "Newton is the largest community in Iowa without a higher education campus. With this campus Newton-area residents will have access to professional and technical educational opportunities right at their doorstep."
The community reaction was one of surprise and joy when it was announced that classes would start in September, 1993.
Maytag agreed to donate the building - and $1 million in cash - to the DMACC Foundation, a private not-for-profit corporation charged with developing funds for the College. The city of Newton provided $1 million and DMACC allocated $3.2 million. The DMACC Foundation made arrangements to lease the entire 105,000 square foot building to the college, which would in turn, lease 27,500 square feet to Maytag for use as a corporate training center. Maytag signed a 15-year lease for the space it would occupy. The revenue from the lease would fund the debt service costs for mortgage payments incurred by the College. The final agreement was presented to the Iowa Department of Education and approved by its board.
Naming, Groundbreaking and Campus Partners
The DMACC Board approved the name Newton DMACC Polytechnic Campus. Polytechnic was defined as, "skills in many areas," reflecting the intended focus on education, training and cooperation with industry and the community.
On January 25, 1993 a groundbreaking ceremony was held in the cavernous building that would become a college campus. Representatives from each of the partners - DMACC, the Maytag Corporation, Newton Community Schools, City of Newton, Iowa State University and University of Iowa - each spoke about the potential the campus would have to improve the lives of citizens and enhance the Newton community. It was emphasized that Newton residents and businesses would also have a "gateway" to other DMACC programs and services with the help of the Newton Campus staff.
Benefits the campus would bring to each of the partners:
- Maytag Corporation planned conferences, training seminars, courses and programs for Maytag employees from across the U.S., as well as held monthly Maytag Management Club meetings and collaborative training offerings with DMACC;
- Newton Community School District (NCSD)—Basics and Beyond, an alternative high school, offered classes to area high school students under a contract with the school district. DMACC and the NCSD also developed workshops for students, including an annual conference targeted at middle school females that showcased non-traditional career opportunities. The College encouraged Newton High School seniors to enroll in DMACC courses where they could simultaneously earn high school and college credit at no cost;
- The city benefitted from the new community center, auditorium, conference and food facilities used by business groups, organizations and governmental groups for conferences, dinners, meetings and events;
- Iowa State University's Extension Service office provided information and services to area businesses and farmers. ISU also utilized facilities for college credit classes, often in cooperation with the Maytag Corporation;
- The University of Iowa's classroom with technology enhancements provided a base for the University's MBA program which, over the course of a three-year period, a student could earn an MBA without leaving the Newton Campus; and
- Marriott/Sodexho was engaged to promote and manage the public conference center and often provided a professional and elegant addition to student functions and meetings.
Constructing the Campus Building
Structuring the many facets of this challenging construction time line (11 months) required contracts and arrangements for swift decision making. "We all made a commitment that we were going to do this, recognizing that we didn't have all of the details worked out. All parties knew what the broad strokes were; then we decided to make it happen," said Joseph Borgen, President of DMACC. According to William Kuhlow, Maytag's Corporate Director of Real Estate, "This was something we all needed, and it had to come about immediately. The deal's structure revolved around cooperation rather than negotiation."
During the summer of 1993, record-breaking rains flooded the Midwest, delaying the exterior construction. The planned five or six weeks of exterior work stretched to three months. With an extraordinary amount of flexibility and cooperation, the campus was constructed and opened in 11 months. It proved successful in maintaining momentum in the face of unexpected obstacles.
Planning the Educational Programs
Once announced, the partners were committed to planning for programs, staffing, partner and community relationships, equipment selection and a host of other challenges during the few months before classes would begin. Newton Community Schools provided a temporary office and secretarial support; later an office was established in a storefront on the east side of the Newton square. The location provided a highly visible presence with easy access to prospective students, as well as ample office and bookstore space as the staff was hired to begin student recruitment and develop systems.
A survey was published in the Newton Daily News and the Maytag Bulletin that listed possible college credit courses and provided an avenue for potential students to record their interests. It was apparent there was pent-up demand for courses since Maytag and other employers often reimbursed employee educational expenses. The College staff decided to offer credit course sequences that would permit a student to earn an Associate in Arts degree in two years. Other courses were offered based on student or employer interest in areas such as data processing, office occupations, and marketing and management. One objective was to encourage people to try a course. This would assure adults they could do well in college courses even if their high school experiences had not been positive. It was also easier to schedule courses using adjunct faculty in the evenings, which lead to expanded course offerings. Initial enrollment was in line with projections.
Promoting the Campus
A major challenge was making the public and business community aware of the services, programs and role the campus could play in enriching lives. Many had no direct experience, personally or with family, about what a college could do—especially a two-year institution. Additionally, it was important to generate enrollment for the fall term and encourage individuals and businesses to try DMACC courses or services.
Fortunately, the College had a positive image within the community based on the publicity surrounding the announcement, the continual support of the Newton Daily News and radio station KCOB. The communication strategy focused on personal contacts with: groups, ministers, businesses, school personnel and community leaders. The location of the temporary office on the east side of the Newton square, with an attractive "DMACC Newton Polytechnic" sign, seemed to encourage many to stop by, visit and request information. Public interest stories and advertising were also important in gaining interest and attention. Efforts were successful based on enrollment outcomes for the fall term, as well as support from social service agencies and high school counselors.
The campus was to be completed by September 1, 1993. However, the need to redesign the building's structure, coupled with a record rainy period, delayed the completion date until November. The community, pleased to welcome the new venture, readily cooperated in making alternative facilities available for instruction until the building could be occupied. Both the alternative school, Basics and Beyond, and Newton High School had classrooms available in the evenings, but day classrooms were fully booked. The United Methodist Church, only two blocks from the temporary office, offered its educational facilities. Computer courses were offered from a mobile lab - a converted school bus that also hosted the campus mascot - a cat that spent cool fall mornings warming itself on the bus' engine. Students, faculty, counselors and staff began to establish rapport and a sense of community by maneuvering amongst the scattered venues together.
Eleven months after construction started on October 21, 1992, the campus was ready for occupancy. With much excitement, members of the newly established student government helped students and faculty move their offices and classrooms.
Uniqueness of the Campus
Maytag's Bill Kuhlow described the uniqueness of the campus, "Each tenant may have a few special needs, but for the most part the building is shared by everyone. During business hours, no one is prevented from wandering around. You have alternative high school students who wander through the Maytag space and Maytag employees who wander through the DMACC space. The whole building is one functioning mass of people. They may have different agendas, but they're all here for common purposes."
The diverse range of building occupants included students in the alternative high school, Maytag employees that took DMACC classes to brush up on technical skills and students in Maytag's training program. "The strongest statement I think it makes is that education is important throughout life," said DMACC Executive Dean Carroll Bennett.
Bennett related much of the success of the alternative high school to the building itself. "Too often, such students get the old buildings and old equipment. Now they are in the best facility in the state and it tells them we have a great deal of esteem for them and the program." Borgen concurred adding, "It's a tremendous advantage for students because the campus is a business, as well as an educational institution. It's a real model for inter-institutional cooperation, and people come from all over to look at it."
Open House and Campus Dedication
The formal open house and dedication were held on November 19-20, 1993. The turnout during both days was overwhelming in terms of the number of people who toured the campus and talked with faculty and staff. A special section in the Newton Daily News described the campus building, programs and services, as well as numerous advertisements that congratulated Newton, Maytag and DMACC on their achievements. Many prospective students visited with college admissions staff during the open house and some enrolled for the spring term.
As predicted, most initial students were non-traditional, primarily female and slightly older than the average DMACC student. It was believed this was a result of pent-up demand from students who previously lacked access to higher education in Newton. Recent high school graduates were a small percentage of the total initial enrollment.
A campus advisory committee was formed early in the fall of 1993. This group included members from a variety of occupations, ages, and was gender balanced. The committee was asked to suggest course offerings and contacts of employers who would be interested in services from the campus.
The campus hosted a number of guests during the first two years as the uniqueness of the campus was publicized. Maytag, DMACC and Sodexho collaborated to provide three-phase tours of the new "educational mall" to the many individuals and community groups who requested them.
Understanding the life-changing opportunities that evolve through education, the committed new faculty and staff were eager to welcome and help the many types of people who walked in the front door and spent as much time as possible in the spacious lobby. As a result, high school parents who attended their children's events at the facility became aware of the college offerings and many eventually enrolled in DMACC courses. Mothers and daughters took classes side by side. Senior citizens learned that they could audit classes at no cost, bringing wisdom and diversity to classes - some included students ranging in age from 16 to 81! Committed students and casual visitors of the Newton Polytechnic Campus continued to be immediately aware that learning is a lifelong event.
The People Who Made the Campus a Success
There were a number of people who played a role in the development and successful beginning of the Campus.
Leonard Hadley, CEO Maytag Corporation was truly the person who had both the vision and funding to stimulate the founding and construction of the campus.
Dr. Joseph Borgen, DMACC President had the concept of "partnering" that created a unique campus, as well as his vision for the mission of this unique campus. His ability to explain the concept of the campus to the DMACC Board of Directors and the State Board of Education to obtain their support and approval was crucial to creation of the campus.
Dr. Kim Linduska, DMACC Executive Vice President for Instruction was involved in defining the mission of the campus. She was responsible for the planning and development of instructional programs and student services. The Newton Executive Dean reported directly to her.
Don Zuck, DMACC Chief Financial Officer was the point person on construction and finance of the project. He was one of two people who directly worked with the Executive Dean on campus planning. He also coordinated the legal work on the project with Gordon Greta, City of Newton Attorney and E. James Bennett, Assistant General Counsel for the Maytag Corporation. The Alhers Law Firm represented the interests of the DMACC Foundation and David VanSickel, the interests of the College.
William Kuhlow, Maytag's Corporate Director of Real Estate was designated as the Maytag coordinator of development and construction of the campus. He and Don Zuck met frequently with the architect and construction superintendent. Kuhlow and Zuck were truly the "fathers" of the facility.
Ken Bussard, Bussard/Dikis was the chief architect and one of the creative forces in the design of the unique facility.
Martin Burke, Alter Design Builders' Project Manager was responsible for the planning and construction of the campus facility.
Carroll Bennett, Executive Dean was responsible for assisting in the planning, executing the instruction and campus plans related to programs and services, as well as promoting the campus. He was directly supported by campus staff including Jim Fenton, Director of Basics and Beyond; Kathleen Clauson, Director of Student Services; Teresa DeCook, Book Store Manager; Cindy Dethrow, Administrative Assistant to the Dean; Jane Faircloth, Student Services Assistant; Ken Coye, Director of Maintenance and Plant Services and Kay Wright, Sharon Witte, Randy Smith and Delores Wilson, full time faculty members.
2003 Mary Entz Becomes 3rd Executive Dean
In 2003, Dr. Mary Entz became the third Executive Dean of the Newton Campus after Dr. Nancy Noth accepted a position within the Human Resources Department on the DMACC Ankeny Campus. The next several years would bring many changes to the Newton Campus as well as to the community.
With the Whirlpool acquisition of Maytag completed in April 2006, the focus of the Newton Campus turned even more to serving displaced manufacturing workers. Although some reductions had been enacted, once the acquisition was completed, the pace of the reductions picked up. The Newton Campus worked with local unions, Iowa Workforce Development, and Whirlpool to provide services to hundreds of individuals in transition. The majority of the displaced were workers eligible for educational or training funds provided through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. Thus, activity and enrollment on the Newton Campus ramped up. Campus personnel provided basic math review sessions at a local union hall; many career transition workshops were offered; career exploration, job search, and resume writing workshops were developed, and both faculty and staff received information and training on best practices for serving displaced adult workers (many of whom were now out of the workforce after decades of steady employment). Between 2005 and 2009, enrollment on the Newton Campus more than doubled.
During this same time period, DMACC, led by President Rob Denson and Executive Senior Vice President, Kim Linduska, along with the support of the five school districts located in Jasper County, approached Whirlpool about the possibility of a career academy (to be housed in Whirlpool/Maytag space soon to be vacated). This academy would follow the very successful model previously established in Ames by providing high school students the opportunity to earn dual credit (both high school and college) in a select number of programs agreed upon by the local school districts. Such a model allows local high schools to offer more career and technical programming to students. Further, it provides training, which is current with technology and industry standards. Whirlpool agreed to donate two buildings adjacent to the Newton Campus along with $600,000 to get project started.
In an effort to build the career academy and remove part of the former Plant 1 factory, DMACC entered into the Synergy Agreement in late 2006. This agreement, involving the City of Newton, Iowa Telecommunications, Des Moines Area Community College, Jasper Community Foundation, Jasper County Economic Development Corporation, Maytag Corporation, Whirlpool Foundation, and Maytag Corporation Foundation, provided the vehicle for demolition of former factory space and the building of the Newton Campus Career Academy.
Terry Norton, newly hired as the Career Academy director, welcomed the first group of more than 160 high school students in August 2009. Through surveys and discussions, the following programs were agreed upon by the Jasper County Consortium (Newton, Baxter, Lynnville-Sully, Colfax-Mingo, and PCM): Welding, Building Trades, Auto Collision, Auto Technology, Criminal Justice, Health Occupations, and Culinary Arts. A community open house was held in September with many former Maytag employees visiting their former place of employment. Seeing where they used to work, once a factory now outfitted with classrooms and learning labs, was memorable. Since its opening, Teacher Academy and Digital Electronics have been added to the Newton Career Academy offerings.
Another facet of the Newton Campus change, as a result of the Whirlpool-Maytag merger and subsequent Whirlpool exit, was the Conference Center. Since the inception of the Newton Campus, a full-service Conference Center (run by Marriott, later Sodexo) had been in operation. Without the Whirlpool business and after a valiant try, Sodexo determined that the Newton Campus site was not cost effective and ceased operation in 2009. The Conference Center was idle until the following year when a group of business and community leaders urged DMACC to take on the Conference Center operation. In an effort to serve the community and having no other need for the conference center space, DMACC agreed. In 2010, a part-time Conference Center coordinator was hired, and the center continues to host community events, meetings, conferences, and family celebrations (weddings, retirements, holiday parties, etc.).
Maytag, and later Whirlpool, originally used half of the 2nd floor of the main Newton Campus building as a training and meeting facility. Once that space was vacated, DMACC was able to work with other entities in a cooperative effort to provide much needed services to the community. The local Iowa Workforce Development Center moved to Campus in 2007, not leaving until the local office was closed in 2011. September 2014 welcomed the Career Connection Center (operated by Goodwill Industries). This Center provides free services, such as classes in basic computer skills and networking, advice from career coaches, resume assistance, interview practice and online training opportunities. The Center's work is in line with Goodwill's mission to help job seekers find employment that matches their strengths and interests. In the midst of the Maytag-Whirlpool transition, the Newton Transformation Council was formed and housed on the 2nd floor. In 2007 the Newton Development Corporation moved into former Maytag-Whirlpool space. All of these partnerships, along with one of DMACC's original partners, Iowa State Extension, have proven to be mutually beneficial as our common goals of service are closely aligned. On other building partner notes, one of the original partners, Basics and Beyond (the local alternative high school), moved off campus in 2013 as other space within the K-12 inventory became available. Buena Vista University opened a satellite center on the Newton Campus in 2002. Programs offered by BVU include Business, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Elementary & Secondary Education, Finance, Management, Marketing, Organization Leadership, Psychology, and Public Administration. Again, this has proven to be a beneficial partnership as DMACC students may now simply walk across the hall to access a 4-year college.
Perhaps some of the most exciting changes on the Newton Campus over the years have been the addition of new programs. For many years, the Machinist Technology program and Industrial Electrical Mechanical Technology (IEMT) were very popular. As noted earlier, the Newton Campus Integrated
Manufacturing and Technology Center worked very closely with Maytag to provide apprenticeship training. As employment opportunities in manufacturing waned and training needs declined, enrollment in these programs faltered. To build on IEMT, a new program was developed in 2005, Electrical Construction Trades (ECT). This program provides training in residential, commercial, and light industrial wiring, focused on the National Electric Code. This program is only offered on the Newton Campus and is one of four programs in the state. As more students began enrolling in the new ECT program and fewer people sought manufacturing skill training, the decision was made to eliminate the IEMT program. With declining interest and enrollment in the Machinist program, it was closed at the Newton Campus in 2010. Nursing came to campus in 2006 with our first class of Practical Nurses. Four years later the Associate Degree Nursing program was added.
Newton Campus opened a Court Reporting Program, also. The American Institute of Business (AIB located in Des Moines) contacted President Denson in the spring of 2013, wondering if DMACC might pick up the Court Reporting program it was in the process of closing. Within one year, the program was developed, approved, and operational. The Newton Campus is proud to operate the only Court Reporting Program in the state of Iowa. Happily, the Career Academy brought a few new program options to the Newton Campus. In 2009, the Newton Campus began offering two sections of credit Welding, leading to the one-year Welding diploma. In the fall of 2014, the campus began offering the one-year Culinary Arts diploma.