Des Moines Area Community College broke ground this morning for the first phase of a $24 million expansion and renovation of the DMACC Urban Campus in Des Moines. Muddy conditions kept the ceremony inside, however, and rather than using a backhoe as planned, DMACC President Rob Denson used a gallon bucket filled with garden soil and a trowel to symbolically break ground inside Building 1 on campus. The project is “an investment in each student who enrolls here,” Denson said. “Right now, DMACC Urban Campus students don’t have enough space to study, meet, or just relax.” The initial phase includes construction of a 60,000-square-foot DMACC Student Life and STEM Center Building, which is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020. Renovation of Building 1 will begin once the new building is completed. Officials say the DMACC Urban Campus is the most diverse college campus in Iowa, with 51% of its more than 5,000 students coming from diverse backgrounds, including more than 70 countries. The DMACC Foundation to date has raised approximately $2 million toward a $5 million goal in private donations for the project. Shive Hattery is the project architect for the Urban Campus renovation, and Rochon Corp. of Iowa is the general contractor. To read a Business Record story about the project, click here.