Iowa State Penitentiary Historic Structures Report

Posted By: Stacey Keller Awards ,

2020 Engineering Excellence State Finalist

Entering Firm: Mead & Hunt Inc.
Client: Iowa Department of Corrections

The Iowa State Penitentiary is an imposing site – comprising 29 buildings on a 55-acre campus. After its closure in 2015, the community was substantially affected and the Iowa Department of Corrections noticed that a large amount of its budget went to maintaining this empty site.

In order to find new ways to use the site, Mead & Hunt was selected to provide a Historic Structures Report. The final report took into account the historic value and current condition of the structures. It also looked at the environment and the feasibility of different types of use. The design team then went to development companies and local stakeholders to gauge interest in various plans for the property.

These stakeholder opinions helped form the final report. The report does not recommend demolition and does not expect that one client would take the full property. Instead, it envisions a mixed use area focused around an institution, residents or tourism. This integrates the space into the local community and returns the site to productive use.

The report lays out a plan for rehabilitating a historic property. Mead & Hunt proved that the site’s challenges are not insurmountable. With its historic resources and unique charater, this site could be a profitable opportunity for the client and the community.

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