Iowa Events Center Completes Renovation, Name Change

The Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, has completed a $42.75 million renovation of its existing Veterans Memorial Auditorium, it announced last week, adding that it also has renamed its convention facility: now known as the Veteran's Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.

Part of the Iowa Events Center complex that includes Wells Fargo Arena and Hy-Vee Hall, the Veteran's Memorial convention center features a 28,730-square-foot ballroom — the largest in the state — and 34,000 square feet of new meeting space that will help Des Moines compete for regional conventions and conferences.

"We wanted to retain the unique history of the building's role as a veteran's memorial while creating a new dynamic facility providing maximum flexibility for a variety of events and functions," said Mike Ezell, design principal at tvsdesign, one of two firms — along with OPN Architects — that worked on the project.

The original Veterans Memorial Auditorium was dedicated in 1954 to honor the World War II veterans of Polk County, Iowa. According to its designers, the renovation continues that tradition with "museum quality exhibits" honoring Iowans who served their country.

Other key features of the renovation:

• The building's original 7,200-seat arena was transformed into 27 flexible meeting rooms;

• In the west lobby, seven new glass panels display events from the original building's past, including a historic visit from Elvis Presley; and

• The concourse linking the building's two lobbies features state-of-the-art projection capabilities on a series of 30-foot-by-16-foot, full-height movable wall panels — a first-of-its-kind installation for video display, according to the project's designers.