Des Moines Area Community College today accepted an $8 million gift -- the 472,000-square-foot former Maytag Co. headquarters complex in Newton, which will become part of the DMACC Newton Campus.

The president and founder of Engineered Plastic Components Inc., Reza Kargarzadeh, has donated the former Maytag headquarters, which includes seven buildings. The gift, which triples the size of the DMACC Newton campus, represents the largest donation to DMACC since the college was founded in 1966.

"My family and I wanted to make an important contribution to the college, Newton community and state of Iowa," Kargarzadeh said. "The Maytag campus is in excellent shape, as we've made a number of improvements over the past few years. My hope is that we see more academic programs for DMACC students and new businesses locating in Newton. It's a win-win for all involved."

Gov. Terry Branstad called Kargarzadeh "a visionary and a philanthropist" during a ceremony held at the Innovation Center at the complex today.

"On behalf of DMACC and the greater Newton community, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to Reza Kargarzadeh for this generous gift," Branstad said. "This represents another significant milestone in helping Newton on their continued path toward economic recovery and success. This announcement offers benefits for many years to come."
 
Preliminary plans call for a multiuse facility that could include:
  • Traditional office/industrial park for existing companies and others.
  • Student housing.
  • Space for an expansion of new and existing academic programs.
  • A business incubator for startup and growth companies offering move-in-ready space, access to 100 Gbps fiber optics to support voice, video and data, and DMACC's custom workforce training program.
DMACC President Rob Denson said Kargarzadeh approached administrators earlier this year with the proposal.

"We will be working closely with the city and the Newton Development Corp. to grow this business park," Denson said. "It offers a unique opportunity for all of us to work together to create new opportunities and jobs in Newton."

Denson said the business campus will offer prospective companies many advantages, including access to technology and worker training and work-ready students and graduates. "If an entrepreneur or business is interested in locating on our newly expanded campus, I'd urge them to contact us soon. Discussions are already underway with several entities," he said.

DMACC Board Chair Joe Pugel, a Newton resident, said Maytag was instrumental in creating the DMACC Newton campus almost 25 years ago.

"The history of DMACC and Maytag are closely connected," he said. "Now, it seems fitting that Maytag's former facilities will become part of the college and will be the place where new businesses will be created and a new generation of workers will be trained and employed."

Kargarzadeh founded Grinnell-based Engineered Plastic Components Inc. in 1994. The company now has 15 plants in 10 states and an operation in Mexico. It manufactures plastic parts for the aerospace, consumer appliance, agricultural, heavy equipment and medical fields.