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Preservation Iowa Presents Awards for Excellence in Preservation

Preservation Iowa Presents Awards for Excellence in Preservation


 Waterloo, IA – August 28, 2018 – Preservation Iowa announced their annual “Preservation at Its Best Awards” at the Historic Elks Lodge in Waterloo, Iowa. Preservation Iowa gave 11 awards in ninecategories. Each year Preservation Iowa seeks to honor historic preservation successes. In doing so,we hope to inspire others to take action to preserve, protect, and promote Iowa’s historic resources.Additionally, these projects highlight the work being done around the state to preserve our historic infrastructures by repurposing them to allow reintegration into their local communities. Many of these projects encourage community growth by stimulating the local economy through housing, food industry, and bringing Iowans back into their historic districts which encourages the preservation of the Iowa’srich heritage.

Preservation Iowa is the statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization dedicated to advocacy, education and creation of partnerships that enhance our economic and cultural future through the preservation of Iowa’s historic resources. The 2018 Preservation at Its Best Awards included the following projects: (additional project information on subsequent pages)

Commercial (Large): Hotel Grinnell

Location: Grinnell

Hotel Grinnell is a 45-room boutique hotel that includes a 300 seat ballroom, a 450 seat

auditorium, a lobby bar and outdoor patio. The project is an adaptive reuse of the city’s 1921 JuniorHigh School in the center of downtown Grinnell.

The school was abandoned by the school district and gifted to the city in 1978. The cityconverted the classrooms into office space. Using 1970’s sensibilities, acoustical ceiling tile was addedand hardwood and terrazzo floors were carpeted-over. The fundraising and design for the project began in 2009, but construction and renovation of the 65,000 square foot building did not start until October of 2016.

The classrooms were converted to hotel rooms, their hardwood floors, original to 1921 restored. Acoustic ceiling tile was removed and original ceiling heights and window configurations restored. Lockers were re-purposed and made into end-of-bed benches in some rooms. Chalk boards adorn every room and hang in the bar. Corridors were restored to their original width and the former school kitchen is now a prep / catering kitchen. The terrazzo floors original to the school have been restored where possible in public spaces and hallways.

Major challenges were in adding plumbing and HVAC installation to accommodate a modern hotel with individual bathrooms and heating/cooling control. Extraordinary measures were taken to use local contractors in order to maximize the local economic impact of the project.

The community restrooms added in the 70’s were converted to the hotel’s bar, the gyms 50+ year old scoreboard adorns the wall in the bar.

The old gymnasium is now the hotel’s ballroom and home to weddings and other events. The original hardwood floor was restored. The building’s historic 400 seat theater was restored and doubles as a public performance venue and conference venue.

The project and owner received Iowa’s Impact Award for inspiring community growth andachieving the impossible – bringing a boutique product to a place where only budget flagged properties exist along the Interstate.

The project was funded with private equity, historic tax credits, the Iowa Reinvestment Act, local motel tax, property tax reimbursement over time (TIFF) and a large bridge loan.




Adaptive Reuse: Mac-International Motor Truck Corp. / Station 121 Lofts

Location: Des Moines

Commercial (Small #1): Kendall Building / Sensibly Chic

Location: Jefferson

Commercial (Small #2): Pitt Carriage Building

Location: Des Moines


Community Effort: Bricker – Price Block

Location: Earlham

Residential (Single-Family): Moffett Cottage

Location: Des Moines

Residential (Multi-Family): Francis Apartments (St. Mary’s School)

Location: Dubuque

Rural Preservation: Downtown Walnut Facades

Location: Walnut

Sustainability in Preservation: Catholic Pastoral Center / Home Federal Savings & Loan

Location: Des Moines

Martha Hayes Award for Preservationist of the Year for 2018

Individual Recipient: Ruth Ann Van Donslear Location: Sheldon

Group Recipient: Save Cedar Rapids Heritage Location: Cedar Rapids

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