Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center at Veterans Memorial Auditorium
In 2009 Polk County hired OPN Architects to renovate and expand Veterans Memorial Auditorium at the Iowa Events Center and to provide an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting, ballroom, and exhibit space.
The renovation of the 55 year-old auditorium allows the center to host larger events including state, regional and national conventions and exhibitions. The dramatic renovation included the removal of 7,200 auditorium seats and creation of a second floor, which provided an additional 63,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space inside the auditorium.
Key design elements include providing divisible room for maximum flexibility in use and function, drive-in dock access, audiovisual, acoustics, electrical, lighting, and low-voltage systems suitable to the function and use of the space. A new holding or staging area for food service equipment will be added to support the new banquet facilities. The design incorporated and utilized the existing building automation and MEP systems.
The Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center design and reconstruction was completed in conjunction with the interior renovations of Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Originally constructed in 1954, the plaza was partially renovated in the mid-1980s along with the west auditorium addition. Renovations focused on upgrades to public circulation, accessible access, the creation of exterior event space, celebration of an existing dedicated monument, and refreshing the plaza plantings. Focus was given to the creation of large but intimate event space utilizing soft-scape and plantings to define dynamic space for both small and large events. Private space was also created outside the event space for small conversations and individual reflecting.
The project presented logistical and timing challenges. Chief among these was the need for the center to remain in operation and fully functional during all phases of this renovation. Creative planning and diligent attention to the project schedule allowed the team to meet these challenges.