Ames City Council discusses rezoning old Ames Middle School


The Ames City Council rejected development for a new apartment complex where the old Ames Middle School stood.

Tedi Mathis

Ames City Council is looking into the rezoning and reconstruction of the old Ames Middle School, a building that has been abandoned for years.

The council discussed the possibility of more off-campus student housing.

At the meeting on March 5, 2013, the council referred the rezoning project to the city staff, and the staff returned with a report at the meeting on March 26. Breckinridge Group, who purchased the property as of March 11, had come forward with two requests.

The first request was made March 11 for the middle parcel of land where the school currently stands on 321 State Ave.. The request is for the land to be rezoned as residential low density.

“A low density residential zone allows single-family housing,” said Charlie Kuester, a city employee with planning and housing. “It means occupied by a family.”

The second request from Breckinridge Group was made on March 15 for the southern parcel of land, located at 601 State Ave., to be rezoned as Floating Suburban Residential Medium density.

FS-RM zones allow for single family housing, as well as the construction of duplexes, town homes and apartment buildings with less than 12 units, which would open up the possibility for more student housing areas.

Definitions of what constitutes a single family and how many people can live in different residential buildings are described in city code.

“Apartments can be up to five people,” Kuester said.

The council will make a final decision at the City Council meeting on April 9.

Campustown was also a hot topic at the meeting with discussion about renovation and construction of the newly purchased Kingland properties.

Warren Madden, senior vice president for business and finance at Iowa State, was present to speak on behalf of the positive relationship between Kingland and the university. “I want to generally support the request that is being made of you,” Madden said to the council.

Madden went on to explain the importance of the relationship between Iowa State and Kingland in this project. “They are a very significant employer of students at Iowa State,” Madden said. “This corner is an important key as it was in earlier projects.”

The city council was also in support of learning more about the Kingland construction, and curious to learn more about what the building would look like and how they would effect historical preservation in Campustown.

The council also discussed historic preservation of the Ames Public Library throughout the expansion and renovation of the building, with both the Historic Preservation Commission and the library board present.