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When Neumann Brothers broke ground on its first project at then-Iowa State College in 1927, some of the students at the time had attended classes alongside Jack Trice, the pioneering athlete who remains the namesake of the football stadium. Since our local construction crew from Des Moines began work on Memorial Union that spring, it inaugurated nearly a century of Neumann-led projects at Iowa State University.

This legacy continues current day with the replacement of LeBaron Hall. Demolition is set to begin in July 2024 and the project is scheduled for completion in August 2026. The state-of-the-art building will provide enhanced design, display, event, teaching, and research lab space for the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management.

“Having modern facilities is essential to meet the evolving needs of providing a student-centric, world-class education now and in the future,” said Windy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University, at the groundbreaking ceremony on April 18.

Neumann connected with a familiar partner, BBS Architects | Engineers, to meet the University’s design-build goals. Replacing LeBaron Hall is a demanding project in part because of the tight timeline and tight space parameters.

The $39 million project comes with myriad complexities to navigate.

Namely, it requires the demolition of a building in the heart of campus, which has occupied spaces next to it. It also demands critical shoring techniques, complex infrastructure changes to support the surrounding buildings and sustainable construction practices. Finally, Neumann will build the new, 39,000-square-foot LeBaron Hall in the same footprint with as few disruptions as possible for the students, faculty, and staff. The aim is to accomplish it all while preserving existing trees and the surrounding landscape.

“We presented a design with a goal of exceeding ISU’s expectations that’s going to be a campus attraction for Iowa State University,” said Matt Davis, a senior project manager at Neumann. “We worked with BBS daily to help identify different materials and processes we could use that could match — or come very close to — the historical buildings around it with a modern touch.”

The project will be a labor of love for many at Neumann. Our team is filled with Iowa State alumni, including the project managers for the new LeBaron Hall. Some fortunate students may also get to play a role, as we make it a priority to take on interns and co-ops. At least one student from the Construction or Civil Engineering Program at Iowa State is expected to be involved.

“Returning to ISU and helping elevate the experiences of students, faculty and staff is phenomenal,” Davis continued. “Sometimes in this profession, we need to sit back and think about the ways that we impact the world without realizing it. We’re really excited about what the new LeBaron Hall will mean to Iowa State, its students and graduates across the globe.”

Learn more about the project here.