Location, location, location – new District 3 campus opens in Sioux City

Image (1)We’re always striving to make lives better through transportation. Recently in Sioux City, that goal is being lived out through the consolidation of five Iowa Department of Transportation facilities into one large and very visible campus.

The new campus is located on 50 acres of land on U.S. 20 that the Iowa DOT purchased to provide fill dirt for the Interstate 29 reconstruction project. The city rezoned and annexed the area in 2021 as they continue to develop in the eastern part of the city. District Planner Dakin Schultz said, “As a planner, we have been doing studies to expand the city to the east since 2005. This location is the new gateway to Sioux City.”

Jessica Felix, our District 3 engineer in Sioux City, continued, “Having our facility in the new gateway gives people greater visibility of what we have to offer this area. The old facilities blended into their surroundings. There was nothing notable about them." 


New wordspaces
A collaborative environment for employees will improve communication.

Felix explained, “Having our staff in five separate locations around Sioux City was inefficient for coordination when face-to-face communications are necessary. The new conference rooms allow quick huddles to resolve issues and the open concept allows for mentoring through formal and informal means. In addition, a central location in Sioux City makes it easier for our customers to find us.

What services are located at the new campus?

Three of the five facilities have currently moved to the new site:

  • District 3 office
  • District materials lab
  • Sioux City construction office
  • The two Sioux City maintenance garages are expected to be in their new space in late 2023/early 2024.

The benefits reach far beyond the ability to quickly collaborate between different groups. Felix said, “The access for our large equipment at the two old garages was not good. They were in residential neighborhoods and our trucks had difficulty getting to the roads we maintain. When the maintenance garages move to the new campus, they will have much easier access to their service areas.”

Nuts and bolts of the new maintenance facility (coming late 2023)

Maintenance Facility-Progress Photo (1)
The new combined Sioux City maintenance facility on the District 3 campus.


  • The combined garage will serve 373.5 lane miles.
  • The facility will include a 40-bay garage, a cold storage building, and two 3000-ton salt storage buildings.
  • The district bridge and paint crews will also be located in the facility.
  • This is the first Iowa DOT facility with solar capabilities.
  • It is the first facility to utilize the DOT’s new salt storage building design. The new design provides metal sides, a wooden pole structure, and a roof above a precast base. This new design can be retrofitted to existing salt structures around the state in the future. Other advantages include:
    • Lower cost because there are more contractors providing services associated with a wood pole building versus our traditional fabric hoop building.
    • Materials are also more readily available and cost-effective.
    • The usable lifespan of the structure is significantly longer. 
  • The facility is prepped for up to three electric vehicle charging stations for state fleet vehicles.

The Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council along with the Siouxland Regional Transit System are constructing a new facility on the new campus as well. The new facility will include bus maintenance areas, indoor bus storage, a bus wash, a driver training area, and offices. Another example of partnership and efficiency is combining regional community planning and services. The new facility is scheduled to open in fall 2023. The two organizations received a US Department of Transportation grant to build their new facility.

Other benefits

Front area
A new welcoming atmosphere greets DOTers and visitors at the new District 3 campus.

Felix noted that recruitment and retention of employees is another benefit of the new campus. She said, “Coming here just a short time ago, the plan for the new facility was talked about in my interview process. It was a factor in my decision to relocate from Wisconsin. Since we have been working on the new campus, it shows on the outside what we are on the inside – a modern, efficient organization.”

Other benefits of the campus include a large conference room that can be used for training and public information meetings. Schultz said, “It used to be a challenge to find space for meetings and we would have to rent space instead of hosting these events in our own facility.”

When Iowa DOT staff or consultants need to visit or work in Sioux City, the new facility can accommodate them as well. Felix said, “We have a lot of collaboration space and drop-in spots where people can plug in a laptop and work comfortably.”

Felix concluded, "This new campus shows that we are here and ready to serve area residents.”


A little history behind the former District 3 office site

The former District 3 office was originally equipped with a bomb shelter that was built in the 1970s during the height of the cold war. Schultz explained “The basement ‘conference room’ was all concrete, including the ceiling. It had holes in the walls where cots were previously mounted. There were no windows. The break room in the basement had a stove, but we were never sure why. When we were cleaning out the building, we found cooking utensils from the 1970s.”

Schultz said wool army blankets and cots had been found in the building previously. He continued, “When we were cleaning things out, we found Geiger counters and a nuclear warning sign behind the elevator.”

Here are photos of a few of the "artifacts" found when cleaning out the old District 3 space.

Wool army blanket
Radilogical monitor
Geiger counter

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