Voters approve levies for future growth

Voters approved two levies that will generate an estimated $112 million dollars between 2016 and 2025.

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, voters passed both a 20¼ Mill Levy and a Six Cent Levy that will bring remodels and additions to all DMACC campuses.

These levies help keep tuition the second lowest in the state with one of the lowest tax rates in the state according to DMACC President Rob Denson.

These levies are crucial for DMACC’s growth into other areas of the district.

“Without these levies we would not have a career academy in Ames, in Perry, Southridge mall would not be here, a career academy in Newton, or a lot of the renovations here on campus,” Denson said. “FFA would not be here.”

The twenty and a quarter mill levy is for purchase of land, building renovations and capital improvement, and will generate an estimated $84 million in ten years.

This money will help with maintaining DMACC’s 54 buildings, roads and parking lots.

“It doesn’t pay for raises, it doesn’t pay for salaries. It just pays for those roads, renovations, repairs and roofs,” Denson said.

The six-cent levy will help add new equipment like computer labs and welding equipment.

“The two of them generate about $9 million a year, which sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but then you see a project [like Southridge] that comes at $13 million and that’s a year and a half of it gone,” Denson said. “They are both critical.”

DMACC puts together a plan every ten years on how they intend to spend the money. These plans are not set in stone according to Denson, but it helps to decide what they will do with the money.

“Something may come along and change our minds, just like Southridge mall,” Denson said. “That was a $13 million project. When we did our current levy we had no idea Southridge Mall could be reality.”

In the college’s Facilities Strategic Plan for 2016-2025, between $24 and $26 million is estimated to be spent on the Ankeny Campus.

The money is planned for renovations to buildings 3E, 3W, 10, 13 and 14. The college is also planning on using the money to build a new student Center.

“The current student center (Building 5) was constructed more than 20 years ago, when the enrollment on the Ankeny campus was less than one third of what it is today.

“A new student center will include expanded gathering and study space for students; an expanded bookstore and food court, a cyber café; rooms for the Student Action Council, Honors, and other student clubs; services to academically support students: the Academic Achievement Center, computer labs, the assessment and testing center, student tutoring, disability services; and other space for students,” the plan reads.

The report also states that the gym and work out facilities will remain in Building 5 and Building 5 will be renovated into classroom and office spaces.

“We want to do more to enhance the student experience,” Denson said. “We think that we have a pretty nice campus but we don’t have a lot of student life activities. You come, you work, and you go home. We need to do more so students have more to do. More and better meeting space, organization spaces, better clubs and more intramurals, some of that will be helped by some of this money.”

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