Kirkwood dedicates $10 million Agricultural Center expansion

A portion of Kirkwood Community College's newly-renovated Washington Hall Statler Agriculture Sciences Center. IMAGE VIA KIRKWOOD

Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids recently held a dedication ceremony for the college’s newly-renovated Washington Hall Statler Agriculture Sciences Center.

Construction began on the renovation project in 2019 and focused on transforming the building into a modern learning space. Completed in two phases, the renovation includes 53,000 square feet of renovated space including updated classroom and lab spaces. In addition, a 25,000 square foot addition was also added for the Ag Machinery Shop, giving students a brand-new, state-of-the-art space to hone their skills. New geothermal, electrical, sprinkler and fire alarm systems were added among other improvements. The modernized building also includes new energy-efficient windows, which help the college save on heating and cooling costs and bring natural light into the classrooms.

To Kirkwood Agricultural Sciences Dean Scott Ermer, the end result of the project is a superior educational environment for today’s student that will help maximize their learning potential.

“Before the renovation, it became very apparent that Washington Hall was in need of major upgrades if we wanted to maintain our place among the top two-year Ag schools in the country,” said Ermer. “The building lacked the adequate space and resources to support the high level of education we were providing. Now that space has been transformed into an incredible learning atmosphere that will enable our faculty and staff to reach new heights in educating the Ag leaders of tomorrow. I’m very excited for the future of this department and our students.”

The cost of the renovation came in at just over $10 million. The funds were raised as part of a $60 million bond referendum that voters approved in 2017, which has enabled the college to pay for much-needed renovations and upgrades to a handful of aging Kirkwood buildings. The largest project being funded as a result of the successful vote is the renovation of Iowa Hall into a new student center. Work on that building is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2022.

Construction on Washington Hall was finished in the fall of 2020. Planning for the dedication ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.