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The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

Fall 2023 brings Meredith reopening, new sports stadium, Broadlawns clinic

Meredith+Construction
Photo by Grace Altenhofen | Editor-in-Chief

A commitment to continuous growth is driving many of the construction projects across and around Drake University’s campus. Three projects are slated to open in fall 2023, and more are in development – though construction timelines remain in flux.

“As Drake is successful, Des Moines is successful and vice versa,” Drake Chief of Staff Nate Reagen said.

Partnerships with the Des Moines community and organizations in Iowa are allowing Drake to create new opportunities for students and the Drake neighborhood.

“Being of our place means not just making our campus great but making our surrounding community great,” Reagen said.

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Meredith Hall

The home of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and departments within the College of Arts and Sciences is expected to wrap up its restoration project in August, allowing faculty, staff and students to return to the building for the first time in more than a year.

With its finished status, Meredith Hall will also earn its place on the National Register of Historic Places, which helped earn some of the funding for the project.

“We’ve worked really  hard with [the State Historic Preservation Office] for the last three years to make sure that the improvements that we’re doing to the building still capture and reflect the historic nature of it,” Drake Planning and Design Manager Michelle Huggins said.

The building will look relatively the same as students remember it. One notable change is the addition of study spaces similar to those currently in the Science Connector Building and Collier-Scripps Hall.

The new study areas, known as “zip spaces,” can be reserved or walk-in when they’re empty. Students will be able to reserve rooms, but each room will have a digital screen that will update the reservations schedule every 15 minutes. Those in charge of the spaces are still discussing the length of time a room can be reserved.

“The zip spaces are the one of the most requested spaces that we get from students on campus,” Huggins said.

Meredith Hall is a high-profile building in the center of campus, so Huggins hopes this addition will support all students, not just those who have classes in Meredith.

“We’re excited that we can add those in as part of this project,” Huggins said.

In the next several months, construction teams will be putting the final touches on the restoration. Huggins said the final steps include the technology components like projectors and screens as well as returning furniture to the building.

Reagen will oversee the move back into Meredith.

“In July, we’ll start loading stuff that we have in storage back into Meredith,” he said. Much of the furniture that belongs in Meredith is currently being held in Morehouse, Cowles library, the 25th street SJMC offices and storage facilities off-site.

“Right now, our expectation is that August 1 [faculty and staff] can start working out of Meredith,” Reagen said.

 

Mediacom Stadium

Starting in fall 2023, 44 sports teams and student organizations from Drake and Des Moines Public Schools will use the Mediacom Stadium, which has a capacity of 4,000, currently under construction east of the Knapp Center.

“This stadium will be the home of [four] Des Moines [public] high schools,” Huggins said. 

East High School has a pre-established partnership with Grand View University, but most of DMPS’s high schools will use the event for football and soccer games as well as marching band competitions.

Huggins is excited about the digital signage being installed to help each home team feel the school spirit in this shared space. The displays will be changeable to feature the logos and colors of whatever organization is hosting an event.

The stadium will also feature a concession stand that will be run by Sodexo during Drake events. Booster clubs and other high school organizations will be allowed to use the space when their schools are hosting events.

 

Broadlawns Clinic

The Broadlawns Clinic at Drake is also set to open in the fall of 2023. The facility is set to fill the needs of Drake students and the Drake Neighborhood.

“Broadlawns brings a lot of credibility to others who are looking to partner and to help make our Drake perimeter a nice place, so it’s really exciting,” Huggins said.

The new clinic’s services will be modeled after Broadlawns’ other urgent care locations but will offer increasing mental health counseling options for students. Broadlawns plans to increase the type of counseling options that are available through the new health center.

 

Morehouse Intercultural Center

The plans to renovate Morehouse and transform it into an Intercultural Center are intended to provide more safe spaces for Drake students.

“The [multicultural] houses will stay,” Huggins said. “They’re not going anywhere, but we know we need to provide a home base for the remaining hundred and forty five organizations that don’t currently have a home.”

The vision is to build an expanded version of the Student Life Center, currently housed in the Olmsted Center. 

In addition, Morehouse will serve as office space and a place to host events when Olmsted is taken offline when construction of the University Center begins. 

 

Olmsted Center

Plans are in the works to revitalize the Olmsted Center to make it a space where students want to work and hang out. “University Center” is a proposed name for the Olmsted renovation. 

“We’re not going to be able to find a temporary accommodation for everything that’s in Olmsted because it’s a unique building on campus,” Huggins said.

The building will remain, but the goal is to brighten up the space. While it is under construction, there are plans to make sure students have access to their caffeine fix.

“Starbucks is not going away,” Huggins said. “During construction, we will not be without Starbucks. We don’t know where it’s going to live yet, but it will be easily accessible for all students.”

Huggins hopes to expand the wellness center in the basement of Olmsted and to provide an additional performance space similar to Pomerantz Stage.

“Our goal is to create as lively a space as possible,” Huggins said.

A set date for the beginning of the Olmsted project is to be determined.

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