February 27, 2024

Final design revealed for DMACC Greenspace

A final concept plan for the DMACC Greenspace, filled with wide walkways, shade structures, a theater screen and a performance stage, among many features, was presented to the Newton City Council on Monday.

Kim Didier, DMACC Maytag Campus executive director, along with the design team of Jack Topp, David Frigo and Reinaldo Correa walked the council through the space virtually, highlighting architectural landmarks and how the project can be accomplished.

“We see this as a community project, positioning Newton for the future to become a real attraction within the region and beyond,” Didier said. “This is a master plan with some great vision on how we position our community and this asset that has been a part of it for more than century.”

While working with community stakeholders and an advisory group, Didier, Topp, a project manager with OPN Architects, Frigo, a lead designer and landscape architect with Hitchcock Design Group of Chicago and Correa, a public air consultant and professor at Iowa State University, working through a discovery period of the space, analysis of the existing conditions of the buildings and ideas on what the space could become.

Through collaborating with students from ISU in monthly meetings to finalize designs, the team first drafted three preliminary concepts which have been refined to the final product.

“We wanted to catalyze the development, improve quality of life, create a gathering space, leverage student involvement, reflect heritage and make it very memorable,” Topp, a Newton resident, said.

To help connect the area with center of downtown Newton, the team started the design on West Third Street North, redefining the alley way adjacent to the space. A 20-foot walkway, lined with shade structures that provide seating and pedestals for art, usher visitors to the well-known former Maytag corporation headquarters building, now known as building 18.

On the building, a new facade with the legacy name will rebrand the area and tower over the newly defined space.

“There are two major walks, one that goes east and west from Third Street West to the west side of DMACC and there is one that cuts between buildings 17 and 18 that goes to the parking lot,” Frigo said.

The greenspace will have a sculpture fountain, large performance stage and theater screen position on building 18.

The structures throughout the campus will receive facade improvement by way of fresh paint, art panels and new windows. A breezeway will also be added in the building to connect the north and south sides of the campus

Toward the north side of the campus, an additional outdoor activity space, sized for small weddings or gatherings, will be somewhat private with walls to define the area. An outdoor kitchen will also be available to those who use or possibly live in the buildings.

“Building 16 is the one we have been talking with developers and we see some potential for housing, market rate, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, loft kinds of housing within that building,” Didier said. “Showing and having this idea of a garden that would be a part of it helps us as we show it to our developers.”

A showpiece of the space, the fountain sculpture brings a deeper meaning in its shape and form, drawing upon Newton’s past and toward its future.

“One of the things that was just unbelievable through this entire journey was this notion of really wanting to listen and really understand the beautiful legacy, one that goes beyond Maytag, a legacy that continues to be written today. As a theme we kind of called it ‘Yesterday, today and tomorrow,’ which really alludes to not only what happened in the past but what to continues to happen here in the city of Newton,” Correa said. “The sculpture talks about the beautiful agricultural history, the way the tractors would caress the landscape, the way the wind blades begin to also move through the landscape. Not only that but the great invention that happened here of the agitator and how it begins to immolation those motions. It becomes a metaphor of a physical reflection but also a mental reflection of where we are heading as a people.”

To accomplish the project, Didier requested the project be broken into phases that can be built as funding sources become available. She said she hopes to move into that stage of the project in the next month.

“I’ve already seen the value in us really approaching this in this manner. The developers can see the vision, can understand that it is a part of a much bigger plan that just trying to get buildings occupied,” Didier said. “We really have an idea, a vision and something that we feel the community has helped contribute to and be a part of actually helping us make it a reality.”

The response from the council was overwhelmingly positive as they worked to take in all that the team designed for the more than five-acre campus. Councilman Craig Trotter said he didn’t realize the space was so big and the work the team had put forth was outstanding and amazing.

“It is an exciting concept and we will look forward to getting additional updates and how we can move together as a community to achieve some of these aspects as we continue to develop not only this area but the entire downtown,” mayor Mike Hansen said.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com