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Site Development

Athletic Field Site Design

April 8, 2024

Project planning by Augustana University and DGR Engineering to upgrade Bowden Field to a championship level began in 2018, and eventually culminated in a new facility which opened for the 2023 season.

The biggest challenge: fitting a new modern facility within the existing field’s footprint (circa 1991). To achieve this, home plate was shifted approximately 12 feet south to maintain existing fencing dimensions and provide room for chair back seating and a fan suite/press box behind home plate. Also, an extended planning process was necessary to balance donation momentum with the university’s facility expectations for a championship-level facility.

The final project plan balanced design goals with the funding while utilizing bid alternates for several features to allow the University flexibility in decision-making in the following areas:

• Lighting
• Outfield padding
• Dugout Cabinets
• Press box lift
• Home team dugout kitchenette
• Chairback seating – Potential future addition space

The final result is a state-of-the-art facility that all parties can be proud of and that will serve the needs of Augustana University’s softball team and its fans for many years.

Site Development

July 27, 2021

Site Development


Site Development is Key
for New Rock Rapids Hospital Project

Project Owner:
Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital

Key Experience:

  • Traffic flow considerations
  • Utility line coordination, planning and construction
  • Worked with utilities on booster station design and water main piping

Key Features:

  • Multiple use parking/entrance areas
  • Site design allows for maximum traffic exposure along highway
  • Site set back into hill, allowing suitable soils for building slab and parking lots

Early in 2016, Avera Health System, a regional health system based in Sioux Falls, SD, reached an agreement to lease operations of the hospital in Rock Rapids, IA and clinics in Rock Rapids and George, IA with Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) beginning in May of 2019 and lasting for 25 years. As part of the lease, MPCH constructed a new hospital and clinic campus in Rock Rapids.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2017 at the location of the new hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids. Construction began immediately and concluded in February, 2019.

DGR Engineering (DGR) contracted directly with MPCH and worked closely with the Owner’s Architect, BWBR of St. Paul, MN during the planning and design phase. Planning started with site plan design for the new facility to offer maximum exposure to traffic on Highway 75. The hospital building is set back into a hill so that the site grading produced ample suitable soils to construct the building slab and parking lots.

The front parking lot is reserved for patients and guests and employee parking is located behind the building. Parking lot grades are pedestrian-friendly while maintaining good surface drainage. Traffic flow of patient, delivery and emergency vehicles was a point of emphasis during the design process. The employee parking lot accommodates delivery truck turning maneuvers and direct routes to the emergency entrance. It was also designed to be easily navigated for emergency situations.

The new hospital required construction of utilities service lines. A water main loop surrounds the building to provide fire protection and water service from several directions. DGR assisted Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities with design of a booster station and water main piping to provide required fire flows and improve water system pressure and flows in the southwest corner of Rock Rapids.

Journey Construction Professionals of Sioux Falls was the construction manager for the project and was responsible for coordinating the various construction tasks for the project. The approximately $28.9 million Avera Merrill Pioneer Health Campus in Rock Rapids opened May 1, 2019.


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Site Development

April 30, 2021

Site Development


new sioux city school built
on site of existing facility

Multi-year, Multi-stage Project Maximizes Usable Space

Project Owner:
Sioux City Community School District, Sioux City, IA

Bryant Elementary School

Key Experience:

  • Maximize usable space in a tight area with steep terrain (26.5 feet of elevation difference across the site)
  • High level of project coordination with entities involved, included school, city, neighbors, architects, engineers, private utility companies and contractors to layout and complete a schedule for a multi-year, multi-stage project with three bid packages within a proposed budget
  • Reconstruct surrounding streets during site work

The central core of Sioux City, IA is growing in student population and with an existing building constructed in the late 1800’s, the school district listed Bryant Elementary School as a top priority for replacement. It was determined using a school district demographic study that a school capable of housing 650 K-5 students would be required. In 2012, DGR Engineering assisted with site selection for the proposed school building. After thorough review of over a dozen possible sites, the existing Bryant Elementary School site was chosen. Due to the increased need in building size, the existing 2.48 acre site was expanded to 4.31 acres through acquisition of eight residential single-family dwellings as well as some City right-of-way (street and alley). A multi-year, multi-staged project that included three bid packages was planned.

Following approval of the plan to expand the existing site to the south and east, property acquisitions and relocations commenced. Bid Package 1 (BP1) included building and site demolition, utilities and grading which included over-excavation and re-compaction of soils below proposed building footings and foundation, retaining walls and paving.

Also during this time, Jennings Street, 31st Street and Jones Street, which were similar in age to the existing school, were reconstructed in a partnership agreement with the City of Sioux City. Along with street reconstruction the utilities were replaced. There were existing 30” water mains in Jones and Jennings Street (with different pressure ratings) that were improved by installing internal seals at the joints. These existing 30” water mains were potholed during design phase to establish location and elevation in order for other proposed utilities to cross them without conflict.

A total of approximately 1,675 linear feet of street including four intersections plus 200 linear feet of relocated City alley through the site was replaced. Work on BP1 was completed in fall of 2017.

Bid Package 2 (BP2) was also completed in year 2016 in coordination with BP1 and included two site geothermal well fields totaling 230 wells at approximately 300 feet deep. The geothermal well field will heat and cool the new school and has been the practice with all the new elementary schools in Sioux City since 2007.

Finally, Bid Package 3 (BP3) included the building construction with remaining site work (final grading, sidewalks, fencing, etc.) adjacent to the building.


Site Development

April 27, 2021

Site Development


site layout and grading key
to project's success

Sunnybrook Village, Sioux City, IA

Project Owner:
AP Sioux City, Dallas, TX

Key Experience:

  • Building Layout Coordination
  • Site Access
  • Site Utilities
  • Significant Site Grading

Key Features:

  • 42-acre retail development
  • Two primary retail buildings
  • Four outlots
  • Free-standing buildings

The area’s growing population had generated demand for additional shopping options in Sioux City, Iowa. DGR Engineering (DGR) worked with the developer and initial tenants to develop a 42-acre retail subdivision on the south end of Sunnybrook Drive.

Prior to 2000, the area consisted of farm ground and an open ditch. The Sunnybrook Plaza project included installation of a 3,000 ft. box culvert through the site and grading to fill in the ditch. Also included in the project were utilities, a lift station, site grading and paving of Sunnybrook Drive to support the two main anchors, Target and Lowe’s, along with six other lots for future tenants.

Later, DGR projects included additional grading and paving of Sergeant Road, the extension of Sunnybrook Drive to Christy Road, and preliminary grading for the future site of Sunnybrook Village.

DGR worked with the developer to put together a preliminary layout for the site. However, when Fleet Farm expressed interest in putting a 200,000+ square foot building on the site, a significant revision was needed to fit the larger building footprint and required parking on the site.

The use of AutoCAD Civil3D® allowed DGR to redesign the site plans by moving the building pad back toward the hill and steepening the slope behind the building. Coordination between multiple entities to create a mutually satisfying layout of buildings, parking area, utilities and street access was a main element of the planning process.

The current construction will provide 274,000 square feet of retail space for Fleet Farm and Hobby Lobby, a free-standing Fleet Farm car wash/gas station/convenience store and room for an additional 44,900 square feet of retail space. 1,208 parking stalls will be provided in the initial phase of construction. Future development on the site will include four outlots for future stores or restaurants, as well as space for one additional free-standing building.

A challenge this job presented was the existing flood plain designation along Sunnybrook Drive. Documenting DGR’s previous design work on grading and storm drainage work enabled DGR to work with FEMA to obtain a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR). This removed the flood plain designation, allowing work to move forward on the project.

Site utilities include installation of water main and sanitary sewer to serve each building, as well as storm sewer to collect site runoff. The runoff will be delivered to an existing 72” storm sewer along the front of the site. It will then be carried into the existing storm water detention area on the south side of Christy Road.


Site Design

April 19, 2021

Sioux City Projects Require
Careful Design Coordination

Three downtown Sioux City projects were located in the City’s reinvestment district. The district received financial assistance from the state for these type of improvements. Projects included were the following: the expansion of the existing convention center, construction of a 150-room hotel, as well as construction of a 140-space parking deck. DGR Engineering (DGR) worked under the project architect, Ramaker and Associates, for the convention center addition and proposed hotel. DGR worked for the City on the parking deck project. The parking project also included sidewalk reconstruction and driveways within the City right-of-way to allow for the proposed parking deck being designed by Ramaker and Associates.

Project site area consisted of two existing City-owned surface-grade parking lots at two different levels that served the convention center, as well as the City’s Historic 4th Street and Promenade areas. The proposed design included construction of a hotel that would be connected to the convention center, convention center addition, patio areas, limited on-grade parking, as well as a new parking deck to provide parking for hotel guests and 4th Street visitors.

The existing parking lot had public water main, storm and sanitary sewers that were in conflict with the proposed new building footprint. These were relocated to Virginia Street, which required increasing storm sewer sizing per design models. This larger size would allow for the increased distance of proposed system, where little elevation existed within the system.
Placement of the proposed hotel and driveways were based upon simulated truck movements to maintain usage of the existing convention center truck docks off Virginia Street. Portions of 4th Street and Virginia Street were reconstructed to accommodate the proposed hotel.

Elevation constraints of the proposed site (30 feet of elevation difference across the site) and matching the existing elevation of the convention center wouldn’t allow for the typical common main level finished floor elevation of the proposed hotel. Exterior elevation at doorways were variable to account for drainage and ADA accessibility, which required coordination with the project architect to construct interior ramps and a finished floor with several different elevations within the hotel.

The projects also required vacating half a block of alley to gain site area and access between the hotel and parking deck. Alley vacation required coordination with private utility owners for relocation of infrastructure.
DGR worked with a Landscape Architect to finish the area with plants and landscape boulders. Retaining walls and the parking deck structure were used to break up the elevation and create more usable site area.

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