Des Moines Area Community College West Campus will host a community open house to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The approximately 50,000-square-foot building includes a 128-seat auditorium and a total of 15 lab spaces. Provost Anthony Paustian spent two years prior to the 2001 opening working with a team to plan and create a campus that would provide vocational programming in various IT majors, become the only campus in the Midwest to be fully wireless, and pilot then-new concepts like online learning and paperless textbooks. The vision for the campus has been and continues to be that “innovation in technology should drive innovation in education and prepare today’s students for jobs in tomorrow’s economy,” Paustian wrote in a blog post.

But he said the way DMACC West has achieved the mission changed at different times, including when the dot-com bubble burst and the campus needed to expand its offerings. That led to the creation of initiatives unique to the campus, like ciExhibitionciLive! and the Microsoft Data Center Academy. “Like everything in the world, the campus has had to pivot a number of times as things change,” Paustian said in an email. The campus we have today is actually very different than the one we started with while also being very similar in a number of ways as it still is focused first and foremost on creativity, imagination, and innovation.”

The anniversary celebration is at the West campus, on Oct. 21, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.