Construction Underway at DMACC’s Karl Chevrolet Automotive Technology Center

Construction has commenced at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Karl Automotive Technology Center in Ankeny, Iowa. Students, faculty, staff, and patrons celebrated during an official groundbreaking ceremony on May 14. DLR Group’s design for the new center resembles an automotive dealership, providing students with an immersive workplace experience alongside technical education and training. The facility incorporates certified training programs for Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, and Subaru.

Des Moines Area Community College Karl Automotive Technology Center in Ankeny, Iowa by DLR Group. Rendering © DLR Group.

DMACC’s original automotive educational facility, which was built in 1980, lacked the space to support program growth and required upgrades to incorporate the modern tools and technology used in the industry today. DLR Group’s design positions classrooms immediately adjacent to lab spaces, allowing students and instructors to move quickly between classroom activity and hands-on learning, while oversized labs provide ample space for multiple classes to utilize training spaces simultaneously. DLR Group’s design incorporates below grade car lifts so the labs can easily be converted into large-group competition event spaces. Additionally, a student lounge located at the intersection of the two primary corridors encourages student interaction and socialization throughout the day.

“DLR Group collaborated with DMACC and industry leaders to right size the facility to accommodate future growth and create flexible spaces that can adapt as the industry evolves,” says DLR Group Senior Associate Martin Lane, AIA. “The facility is transparent and open. Our design incorporates large spans of glass, including the glass garage doors in the primary access corridors that facilitate movement of vehicles and put learning on full display.”

DLR Group’s transformation includes a 17,000-SF addition that houses 28 additional vehicle bays, new classrooms, a student lounge, and a conference room. A new 3,400-SF showroom at the front of the building frames a new welcoming entry that strengthens the connection between the college and its surrounding community. Renovations throughout the existing building include updated classrooms, new furnishings, and mechanical and electrical upgrades. Karl Chevrolet received naming rights for the building in recognition of their $1 million gift. It is expected to open in August 2020.