Public meetings begin for Scheman Building expansion

Potential Scheman Building expansion from the west side.

Ames Convention Center Website

Potential Scheman Building expansion from the west side.

Emelie Knobloch

The start of the proposed Scheman Building renovation and addition begins Jan. 16.

The proposed project is to add an Ames Convention Center to the Scheman Building that would eventually host job fairs, professional conferences and larger social receptions.

“The project would add larger community events, conferences and conventions,” said Shawne Ungs of the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau. “This would also add more summer events as well.”

The addition and expansion includes the renovation of the Scheman Building and a new building attached to the north side of the building.

“There are 450 events with 191,000 people in attendance annually,” Ungs said. “Since the majority of the attendees are from out of town, they bring in $30 million annually to our local businesses.”

The Ames Convention & Visitors Bureau will be providing three public meetings to inform the public of the project.

The three meetings will be at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Jan. 16 in Room 4 of the ground floor at the Scheman Building.

“The events provide 500 local jobs, including many student jobs,” Ungs said. “The payroll of these jobs is $8.5 million annually.”

The public votes for this project March 4.

The project idea began because of the growing demand for event space.

“The addition won’t bring an extreme amount of traffic like sporting events do, for students living in the area,” Ungs said.

Ungs said the conferences would mainly take place on the weekdays.

The ground level of this addition would feature covered parking, due to potential flooding, as well as open space and meeting rooms on the upper level.

This would possibly be a $38 million project. The funding would be split between the City of Ames and Iowa State.

“This expansion would just show how great of a team the City of Ames and Iowa State University are together,” Ungs said. “They teamed up for other projects like the ice arena and CyRide.”

The commitment from Iowa State to fund this project must be approved by the Iowa Board of Regents.

“I would encourage all residents, including students, to attend one of public presentations or reach out to the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau for further information,” said City Council member Amber Corrieri.

Iowa State will bring the subject up at the February Board of Regents meeting so public voters will know if the University is committed by voting time in March.

“I hope that the community is engaged in this process and takes time to vote,” Corrieri said. “It is an important vote for taxpayers.”

If the project happens, the Ames community will have access to six rooms on the ground floor of the Scheman building without charge.

The accessible rooms’ capacity will range from five to 120 people. These rooms will be used for functions sponsored by non-profit organizations and the city.

There is more information on the project at