Des Moines Christian School Center for Excellence

Project Information

  • Owner

    Des Moines Christian School

  • Location

    Urbandale, IA

  • Architect

    GTG Architects

  • General Contractor

    D6 Construction

  • Engineer

    Baker Group

  • Square Footage


  • Baker Group Scope


Des Moines Christian School’s new, two-story Center for Excellence will add more early education (preschool) and K – 12 classrooms; band, choir and practice rooms; an art room; and three STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) rooms. At its core is a 10,000-sq. ft. multipurpose auditorium/gymnasium with a concessions area.

“Timing is critical with this project,” says Joel Veenstra, Baker Group Project Manager. “We were awarded the project in June 2016, and it needs to be ready when school begins in August 2017. To provide fast solutions and break ground in August, collaboration and reliability are absolutely critical,” he says.

Helping to Optimize Learning Environments

Educational institutions have special needs. For instance, heating and cooling all areas may not be needed year-round, and lighting and noise impact learning. Baker Group is paying special attention to these needs throughout the design-build process for mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems at Des Moines Christian School:

HVAC – A 75-ton rooftop Variable Air Volume (VAV) unit will heat and cool areas occupied only during the school year. A second, 30-ton rooftop unit will support the year-round early education area. To reduce HVAC-related noise, the systems were designed with a 6-inch slab beneath the rooftop units, sound attenuators in supply and return trunk lines, an internal liner applied inside the ductwork, and a drywall containment around ductwork.

Electrical & Lighting – Baker Group participated in a collaborative design approach utilizing input from both the general contractor and the DMCS construction committee to ensure the school addition includes both the wants and the needs of the end users while maintaining the established budget. One interesting challenge was the lighting design in the Performance Hall, which will double as a gymnasium. The lighting design needed to provide aesthetic look and controllability required for a performance hall while accommodating lighting levels and light fixture durability required for gymnasium. 

Plumbing – In addition to typical restrooms, classroom sinks and drinking bubblers, Baker Group is working with the Wastewater Reclamation Authority to size a grease interceptor (which diverts fats, oils and grease from the sewer system) that not only accommodates the concession area in the new addition, but is also sized to handle future renovations to the existing kitchen. This enables the school to meet city requirements without adding another bulky grease interceptor to its landscaping.

Back To K-12 Education Projects