Weitz selected as contractor for STEM complex

Drake University has selected the Weitz Co. to build two new buildings that will anchor the school's new STEM complex, President Marty Martin said.

If the Drake board approves the plans this fall, work is scheduled to begin in February.

Construction of the two new buildings and lighting along 27th Street would cost an estimated $47.6 million and should be complete by summer 2017.

One of the buildings will connect to Olin Hall and will house the School of Education and the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. The other building would be between Olin Hall and Fitch Hall and would have laboratory and classroom space.

The entire $65 million STEM@DRAKE project includes renovations at Olin Hall and the addition of several new degree programs.

State champion cottonwood tree casts some shade on boathouse plan

Sometimes you set off to interact with nature, say in a sleek row boat on the Des Moines River, and before you know it, you're interacting in a way not immediately imaginable.

That is the case for Drake University, which wants to build a $1 million boathouse for its crew team, complete with storage for crewing shells and associated rowing equipment and a team meeting room with locker, restroom and break room facilities.

As a report to the Des Moines Urban Design Review Board points out, the "building nestles into a tree-filled area of (Prospect Park), with the north and east elevations facing Prospect Road."

One of those trees is a very large cottonwood, the second-largest in Iowa, according to records kept by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It stands 106 feet and with a circumference of 25 feet, 1 inch.

The inclusion on the state list of championship trees means the overgrown poplar should not be damaged during demolition and construction work on the 7,000-square-foot boathouse.


The Urban Design Review Board will consider final approval of plans and design features on Sept. 15.