Connecting Campus and Community
Grinnell College and the town in which it is located are connected by more than a name. Each is immeasurably enriched by the College not simply being in but also of the community. College-community partnerships can be as informal as neighbors helping neighbors, and as substantive as major revitalization projects.
Since 2012, Grinnell College has been partnering with the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Grinnell on downtown development — specifically to intentionally build out the “zone of confluence” between the campus and downtown business district, with the goal of continued downtown revitalization through social and economic activity. These collaborative college-community development initiatives will connect campus and downtown, encouraging students, faculty, and staff to visit downtown and inviting the community onto campus. With new retail and housing planned, these partnerships will further support the downtown business district.
Please Note: The Grinnell City Council has approved the street closure of Broad Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, until December 31 for the construction of Renfrow Hall. The Council approved a request from the College and Weitz Construction to close the street to ensure a safe work area for the construction crew to pour the floors and have additional space to stage vehicles and materials around the site.
Current Zone Projects
Civic Engagement Quad (CEQ)
Project Description: Understanding how the built environment can encourage teaching and learning, engagement, and interaction, Grinnell College proposes to build a unique facility at the nexus between the College campus and the town of Grinnell. The Civic Engagement Quad (CEQ) is conceived as a gateway that fuses and dissolves the barriers between town and institution. The CEQ presents an extraordinary new model for 21st century education, living, and co-growing. A reflection of the College’s unwavering commitment to cultivating engaged civic scholars, the architecture of the CEQ is designed as a destination that weaves the town and the College together in shared experiences. The CEQ will welcome the community and invite dialogue, exchange, and collaborative brainstorming, while also meeting the demand for residential, off-campus student housing. Through this project, Grinnell – the College and the town – will become a national model for civic engagement and community collaboration in a rural setting.
The College is working with Adjaye Associates to create a coveted new architectural icon. The CEQ is poised to expand the architectural discourse beyond Des Moines and the capital cities of the Midwest, placing Grinnell on the map as a dynamic 21st century destination.
Project Location: 1029 Broad Street
Project Status: In progress
Target Projected Completion Date: Fall 2024
All dates are subject to change pending approvals, material, and workforce availability.
EMERA by Merge Urban Development
Project Description: Emera by the Merge Urban Development Group is the first new market-rate housing located in the Zone of Confluence. This project will attract new downtown residents, increase overall activity in the downtown area, and support further growth of local businesses. The building will be open to the general public. Located on Main Street, the building will feature four stories containing a mix of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units, micro retail space for commercial tenants, and a large restaurant space.
Project Location: 1020 Main Street
Project Status: In Progress
Target Projected Completion Date: TBD
The Knapp Film and Media Studies
Project Description: Renovations began in July 2022 on the building near the northwest corner of Broad Street and 5th Avenue to house the College’s Film and Media Studies Center. Dick Knapp ’76 made a gift commitment to support the first academic building downtown. The Knapp Film and Media Center will be housed in a 100-year-old former auto garage that was most recently used by St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The design plans for the renovations were developed by OPN Architects.
Project Location: 1013 Broad Street
Project Status: In Progress
Target Projected Completion Date: 2024
Broad Street 1000 Block South Energy Plant & Infrastructure
Project Description: The College is continuing to grow its heating, cooling, and power distribution, with further progress in reducing electric and fossil fuel consumption with the ultimate long-term goal of being carbon neutral. The 821 5th Ave building (basement) will be the home of the new hot water boiler plant. New heating and cooling water piping, as well as campus power, will be routed between campus from the 821 5th Ave building to the north, serving upcoming building projects at the Broad St. and Hwy 6 vicinity, connecting with the College’s existing on-campus distribution systems. Site preparation began in July 2022 as the College develops a timeline and plan for the south energy plant project, which builds upon infrastructure and furthers campus carbon-neutrality goals. This work will help connect energy use across parts of campus and to downtown, making improvements such as air conditioning in more residence halls possible. Infrastructure work will include site work in the 1000-block along Broad Street, beginning in early August.
Project Location: Broad Street
Project Status: In progress
Target Projected Completion Date: May 2024