DMACC: An historical look at the college we call home By Alex Payne

An estimated 64 faculty and staff prepare to retire at the end of this semester. When they go they will take a part of DMACC history with them.

 

Follow our three part series taking a look back through DMACC’s history.

DMACC was established as Area XI Community College in March 1966 with the approval of the Board of Public Instruction.

 

Classes began in spring 1967 with 28 students in a newly remolded building, known as Center I, located at 2501 Vine St. in West Des Moines, the current location of the Iowa Christian Academy.

 

Area XI Community College offered programs like Industrial Electronics, Electrical Drafting, Medical Assistant and Secretarial/Clerical.

 

A year later Center II was founded in a former roller rink at 2020 Grand in West Des Moines, now the location of Skate West.

 

By September 1967, 295 students were enrolled in Area XI Community College.

 

In August of 1967, the college bought 240 acres of land in Ankeny that would become the DMACC Ankeny Campus.

 

Construction started in Ankeny in 1968, and select programs were taught in leased space at the Ankeny Methodist Church in the fall of 1968.

 

In 1969, the Board of Directors changed the name of Area XI Community College to Des Moines Area Community College.

 

In February of 1969, students and administrative personnel moved from the temporarily leased space into the newly built Ankeny Campus.

 

The college would grow even more in 1969 when the Boone Junior College became the DMACC Boone Campus.

 

During the 1970s the Ankeny Campus grew and the West Des Moines centers would move to Ankeny.

 

In 1970, the current buildings 6 and 7 were completed. West Des Moines Center II was closed with the completion of Ankeny Campus’ first two permanent buildings in October of that year, which housed Industrial Manufacturing and Health Services.

 

In December of 1970, the Ankeny Campus Data Processing building was completed as well.

 

In 1971 the Des Moines School of Practical Nursing moved to the DMACC Ankeny Campus. Enrollment for DMACC reached a high of 2,801 students and Ankeny saw the additions of two more buildings, The Library/Media Center and the Food Services Buildings.

 

In 1972, the Ankeny Campus would expand with the addition of 80 acres to the west of campus making the DMACC Ankeny Campus a total of 320 acres. Center I in West Des Moines closed in 1972, when their remaining programs were moved to the Ankeny Campus.

 

The Urban Center for Higher Education was created in Feb. 1972 and in Aug. that same year, the center was moved to the former location of Dowling High School at 920 Washington Avenue in Des Moines.

 

In 1973 fall enrolment was 3,888 students, and the college needed to expand even more room. To accommodate the growing college, construction began on a Public Services Careers building, a Health Sciences building and a Central Utilities building.

 

In 1974, the Urban Campus would move again. This time they would move to Fifth and College, the former location of Sabin Elementary School.

 

DMACC would also receive full accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools for a five-year period in 1974 as well.

 

1975 brought the addition of the Ankeny Physical Plant, Building 12, and a 24 percent boost in enrollment bring the total enrolment to 5,243 students.

 

DMACC’s Board of Directors and City of Des Moines officials approved the acquisition of six acres of land for the Urban Campus, north of I-235 on Seventh Street in 1978. Construction began on the new 30,000 square foot facility the next year.

 

Look for the 80s and 90s in the next issue.

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