Veteran's Memorial Coliseum Fundraising Campaign
*ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE
Donor Levels -
Medal of Honor - $10,000 & Up
Distinguished Service Cross - $5,000-9,999
Silver Star - $2,500-4,999
Bronze Star - $500-2,499
National Defense Medal - $100-499
Friends of the Coliseum - $90
The Veterans Memorial Coliseum was originally built as a memorial to Marshalltown residents who had fought in and/or lost their lives in the Civil War, Spanish War, and World War I. It was officially dedicated on March 15, 1929. Nearly 90 years later, the building still serves as enduring memorial for the patriotic sacrifices of Marshalltown residents in other wars and conflicts that have occurred since its inception. The building has played many roles over the years, including serving as the Marshalltown High School gymnasium until 1964, a civil defense shelter, office for the American Legion, and more recently the home of the City of Marshalltown’s recreational programs and a community event space.
The City of Marshalltown hired GTG Architects in 2017 to complete a feasibility study on how to best renovate the building for the highest and best possible uses. This study recommended removal of a stage and balcony to have the building better fulfill its current role as a recreation space. The proposal for two-full gyms and a renovated first and second floor to allow for more uses and enhanced safety and accessibility was what the study group for the feasibility study ultimately recommended to the City Council.
The City was working with GTG Architects to develop plans and specifications to make the feasibility study a reality when an EF-3 tornado devastated Marshalltown on July 19, 2018. The Coliseum sustained significant damage as a result and became a very recognizable building in the media coverage. All plans were placed on hold until emergency work (new roof, interior demolition, mold abatement) was completed. Despite the setback, the City of Marshalltown remains committed to providing a safe and healthy space for community recreational activities as well as community events.
The renovation of the Veterans Memorial Coliseum seeks to provide a public indoor recreational space that can help address the health needs of the community. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has compiled county health rankings for 2018, and Marshall County ranks 72nd for health related factors like healthy behaviors, socio-economic factors, and clinical care. Marshall County is above the national and Iowa average in key health indicators like adult obesity (34% in Marshall County, 32% in Iowa, and 26% nationally) and adults reporting no leisure-time physical activity (28% in Marshall County, 25% in Iowa, and 20% nationally). This data takes into account that 29% of the City’s population identifies as Hispanic (2013-2017 American Community Survey), and Latino health inequities affect communities like Marshalltown with 24% higher adult obesity rates and 63% higher likelihood of diabetes (FamiliesUSA). By providing an indoor recreational space, we seek to improve community access to a location for physical activity, as well as engage more seniors, adults and youth in physical activity. The benefits from increased physical activity can help reduce negative health factors, like obesity, which can hinder the quality of life for residents.
The City also offers educational programs at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Summer Blast is a summer program for children 5 through 12. The program is led by local teachers who understand the importance of continued learning throughout the summer, and support this by scheduling fun field trips to encourage learning in the areas of science, technology, reading, art, physical activity and mathematics. Field trip locations include Science Center of Iowa, the Grout Museum, Lake Red Rock, and the Iowa Veterans Museum and many more. Summer Blast also includes a daily time for reading, which supports Iowa's early literacy law, allowing adults read to campers, older campers read to younger campers, and campers read silently.
Finally, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum has been an asset to the community’s tourism and event hosting capabilities. Statewide events like the Optimist Pedal Tractor Pull have been held in Marshalltown at the Coliseum for years, bringing in people from outside Marshalltown for events. An expanded facility enhances the ability of the Marshalltown community to be able to host statewide and regional sporting events or meetings and conferences, which has an economic impact on the community and downtown Marshalltown specifically.