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Polk County Northside Community Center


Providing social, educational, and recreational services to all ages, the Polk County Northside Community Center was running out of room as more people used the facility. Its current building lacked amenities to support the services that community members were looking for.


An 11,200-square-foot, dual-purpose facility was built to support increased use by Polk County community members. It includes a billiards room, craft room, fitness room, lounge/game room, medical consultation room, food pantry, computer room, and classrooms, along with a professional kitchen and dining area. From teenagers to seniors, the new Polk County Northside Community Center offers space and services for everyone to enjoy.

The new facility needed a budget-friendly heating and cooling system that could support the different activities happening throughout the building – without having separate systems for each area.

A flexible, energy-efficient HVAC system that met code requirements was needed for the multi-purpose building, which serves many different functions for various groups.

A variable air volume (VAV) system served by a packaged rooftop unit designed by Shive-Hattery provides multiple temperature zones for each of the areas within the building, allowing the Polk County Northside Community Center to use different parts of the facility in unique ways. Depending on the activities and people using one space, temperatures can easily be adjusted up and down as needed without impacting heating and cooling in other areas.

Because the facility incorporates the equivalent of a commercial kitchen, hood exhaust and makeup air systems were necessary to provide a comfortable environment through all types of seasons.

The Polk County Northside Community Center HVAC system design uses less energy than a typical building of the same size and purpose. As a result, it was eligible for MidAmerican Energy utility rebates. It was also designed to be simple to maintain so existing facilities staff can troubleshoot and conduct preventive maintenance.

Design documents were well thought out and executed, reducing the number of changes and questions required during construction. Thanks to upfront communication and planning, the project was completed with only two change orders equaling less than two percent of total construction costs.


The Polk County Northside Community Center now has an HVAC system that meets all applicable codes, exceeds minimum energy requirements for lower utility bills (which qualified the community center for rebates), and is easy to maintain – all while staying within the specified budget.
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