CENTERVILLE-- Sometimes, even during a global pandemic, community members and local business owners come together to solve a need. That’s exactly what has happened over the past six months in Centerville, Iowa. On Monday, March 15, Indian Hills Community College and First Street Development signed an agreement for the construction of Traxler Hall, a new residence hall, on the Centerville Campus.
With the addition of the men’s and women’s wrestling programs, the industrial maintenance technology program, and the renewal of the practical nursing program on the Centerville Campus; Indian Hills lacked the on-campus residence hall space needed to house the influx of new students to campus. Noel Gorden, Executive Dean, Centerville Campus & Academic Services, mentioned the housing issue at a Kaffee Klatch in October and a group of local business owners and community leaders have answered the call.
Centerville community member Bill Cortesio attended that Kaffee Klatch where Gorden spoke about the housing struggle and has since assembled a group of six local business owners to meet the need: Melanie Cowan, Weber Realty; Jesse Fagen, Southern Iowa Heating & Cooling; Clint Housh, Lockridge Lumber; Jeff Kulmatycki, Hawk Insurance; Rob Talbot, Superior Cable & Data; and Kevin Wiskus, Your Square Deal Furniture & Appliance. The group reached out to Gorden, met with Indian Hills President, Dr. Matt Thompson, and began the process of designing a 53-bed apartment-style residence hall to be placed on the Indian Hills Centerville Campus.
The new partnership was announced live on GoHillsTV. Thompson stated, “We’re extremely excited to partner with this great group of community leaders and business owners to build a new residence hall on the Centerville Campus. This public/private partnership will be instrumental in ensuring the continued growth of the Centerville Campus. We are proud to work with First Street Development to fulfill the housing need on campus and look forward to working with them on this project as well as future projects that may arise.”
First Street Development member, Jesse Fagen, noted, “There is nothing but good things that can come out of the partnership with Indian Hills and First Street Development. Working together with Indian Hills to grow and develop young people in Centerville and Southern Iowa is integral to the long-term goal of growing our community and our region. It’s a great honor to be in partnership with Indian Hills and to see a group of people in our community come together for the betterment of our region. I’m excited for the future of this town, our region and of course Indian Hills Community College.”
It was also announced on Monday, that the new residence hall will be named in honor of longtime Indian Hills volunteer, Bob Traxler. Traxler donated countless hours of his time working on projects at Pat Daugherty Field and at other facilities located on the Indian Hills Centerville Campus. He passed away in August 2020, at the age of 103. Traxler’s daughter Connie Castillo and son-in-law Jim were in attendance at the signing event.
An official ground breaking ceremony will be held on Tuesday, April 6, at 10 a.m., on the Indian Hills Centerville Campus. The event will be live-streamed on the GoHillsTV Facebook page.