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The Closson Project


Athletics, Press Release

July 11, 2019

This exterior concept image is a preliminary rendering showing a renovated Graceland Closson Center developed by Shive Hattery Architecture and Engineering.
This exterior concept image is a preliminary rendering showing a renovated Graceland Closson Center developed by Shive Hattery Architecture and Engineering.

With funding for Newcom Student Union nearing completion, we are excited to turn our attention to Graceland’s architectural icon: CLOSSON PHYSICAL EDUCATION CENTER.

One of the most uniquely crafted buildings in Iowa, Closson celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In honor of that anniversary, I am excited to kick off our fundraising efforts to renovate this facility.

Over 95 percent of our students use Closson Center in some way: intramurals, classes, supporting our athletic teams, activities during homecoming and athletic competitions. Over the years, this facility has been the scene of countless moments in Graceland’s rich history.

THE ARCHITECT We are excited to partner with architect Shive Hattery on this renovation. The lead designer on the project remembers attending sporting events in Closson as a child and believes it is extremely important to maintain the integrity of the building’s unique profile while updating the materials and amenities for the modern age.

THE PLAN & TIMELINE Shive Hattery’s plan is a two-phased approach we hope to begin in the summer of 2020, as soon as we raise the funds needed.

Phase 1 tackles the roof and anything attached to it. A brand-new lighting scheme, badly needed air conditioning for the hot Iowa summers, a modernized sound system and a new scoreboard are just some of the aspects of this phase.

Phase 2 covers virtually everything else. Floors, track, bleachers, concessions, restrooms and more.

FUNDRAISING Each portion of this renovation requires a capital investment of at least $5.5 million. Graceland alumni and friends continue to be some of the most generous and giving people I have met in my time as president so far. I am excited to invite you to participate in this project.

If you’d like to make a leading gift or want to learn more about the project to renovate Closson, contact the Development Office toll-free at 800.645.3582 or email

This building has always been an important part of Graceland’s heritage. I invite you to contribute to this important capital campaign that respects the heritage and will secure the future of this building for generations to come.

Patricia H. Draves, PhD


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