Heartland of Story County is changing the vision of aging with the Sixty Forward initiative. In today’s culture, age is truly just a number, and the aging process is unique to everyone. The reality is that as people enter their 60s, 70s, and 80s, they want to stay active and engaged with others. They want a wider variety of options to help them stay healthy and feel their best. They want easy access and supportive services when health issues arise.
The driving mission of Heartland has always been to enrich and support the health and quality-of-life as people age. In recognizing the need to shift how we think and talk about aging well, they have identified the need to reimagine the programs, services, and activities offered.
Sixty Forward is a collaboration with Heartland of Story County, Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC), and the City of Ames Department of Parks and Recreation. Together, it is a community-wide programmatic model that connects those 60+ to opportunities that include physical activities, social networks, and wellness offerings. The program will launch in early 2024, aligning with the opening of a new 15,000 square foot facility.
Through a new unified Sixty Forward website, the partnership will allow participants to seamlessly access programs and services for those 60+ that utilize existing recreational facilities in Ames and through Story County. For example, there will be a Sixty Forward golf league at Homewood Golf Course, aqua exercise classes at the Furman Aquatic Center, and pickleball leagues offered through Ames Parks & Recreation.
By utilizing community facilities and the expertise of each entities’ staff to lead programs, Sixty Forward will support those 60+ on their journey to aging well. Collectively, programs, activities, and services will be provided in the areas of physical activity, social networks, health and nutrition.
At the Sixty Forward Center, MGMC staff will offer nutrition, wellness, and health classes. Parks and Recreation will offer aerobics, yoga, Silver Sneakers, Tai Chi, and more, while Heartland will continue to provide meaningful educational offerings, Adult Day services and social activities.
In January 2022, Heartland partnered with 10Fold Architecture + Engineering to develop the state-of-the-art Sixty Forward Center facility. Harold Pike Construction of Ames began earthwork in September 2022 with construction beginning in the spring of 2023.
The Sixty Forward Center has been made possible through private gifts that total over $9.5 million. The Story County Board of Supervisors awarded Heartland $300,000 toward this project from Federal ARPA funding. The City of Ames is leasing the land to Heartland for $1 per year.
Innovation happens slowly, meticulously, through trial and error, and a great amount of research. That early work often goes unseen by the majority of people, but when it is shared with the world, it can be revolutionary and change the trajectory of the industry that it aims to impact.
The future of housing construction may very well be taking place on the campus of Iowa State University. Under the leadership of Assistant Professor Pete Evans, AIA, IDSA, Julie Robison, Interim Director, IDRO, and Kevin Kane, Director, GIS Facility, in the College of Design, his team is researching the feasibility of 3D concrete printing, in the 3D Affordable Innovative Technologies Housing Project.
Why 3D printing? Initial industry analysis suggests that a 3D concrete printed home can be built faster, with less labor costs, and with a reduction in material costs. When developed, the application for such technology can impact affordable housing initiatives and when housing needs to be built in emergency situations, such as in the fallout of natural disasters.
The goal of Evans and his team is the “create a collaborative in-state ecosystem for high performing affordable housing through innovative and emerging 21st century technologies and strategies.” Other specific goals include streamlining the process for quicker to market affordable homes, and to collaborate with state and local officials to help develop housing codes for this new technology.
But simply speaking, their goal is research. “We are a research institution,” said Evans. “We are not in the business of printing 3D homes for purchase, but rather, to uncover and provide information to housing contractors and developers who may be interested in using this technology.” Evans talks about how all of their research and key understandings will be available to the design and building industry in order to eventually unlock this technology.
Funding has come from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). Director Debi Durham admits that the “industry is not there yet,” but adds that “in five years, I guarantee that we are going to be ready for this and it’s going to make a huge difference.” The IEDA has committed $2.14 million dollars to the project.
Evans and his team began their research in early 2022 with the acquisition of printers and related technologies. Since then, they have been incrementally conducting research, working with smaller versions of the 3D printer, developing the right mix and process. This spring, the team moved toward the printing of reasonably sized shed prototypes to test their understandings.
In addition to their 3D concrete printer on campus, they are collaborating with Iowa Central Community College, where an even larger printer resides. All of this momentum is building toward a large collaboration in Hamburg, Iowa, in the far southwest part of the state, later this summer. Brunow Contracting has committed to utilizing the 3D printing technology for one home in their development. The house will be occupied by Brunow contracting staff, and will be used for further research.
For the past 16 years, Chocolaterie Stam has been a staple in Downtown Ames and a go-to location for holiday, or any-day, chocolate sweets. Owned by Terry and Anne Stark, the couple was the first non-Stam family to own a store. All of the chocolates are made in Des Moines under the direction of Erik Stam, production manager and great-grandson of the founder, Jacobus Stam. The best dates for sales are those surrounding Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
In addition to chocolate, they offer real Italian gelato, have a full coffee bar, and wine to go. Or stay awhile on Saturday’s when the piano is played inside by a local musician. In addition to owning Chocolaterie Stam, Terry has been a long-time member of the Score Table for Iowa State University basketball programs.
(Chocolaterie Stam is located at 230 Main Street)
The co-owners of Marmalade Moon, Ann-Marie Widdowson and Graham Watkins opened their Downtown Ames shop in December 2021 after 9 months of renovations. All of their ice cream is created in-house, including their Marmalade Moon flavor, a creamy, light citrus ice cream with candied orange peel chunks. Both Graham and Ann-Marie are natives of Great Britain, and they bring this European flare to their sales offerings. In addition to ice cream, they offer a range of snacks, retail shop, and full coffee bar. If you’re looking for a suggestion, consider an affogato: a scoop of ice cream “drowned” in espresso.
(Marmalade Moon is located at 207 Main Street)
Gracie Hammer, a senior at Boone High School, spends her afternoons in Downtown Ames at Pyfferoen Pediatric Dentistry where she is job training to become a licensed dental assistant.
This is part of a State of Iowa dental assistant trainee program overseen by the Iowa Dental Board. Working under the supervision of a licensed dentist, Gracie engaged in on-the job training that includes chairside assisting, infection control, and dental radiography. The goal is after 6-12 months, she will be able to complete a series of assessments and apply to be a Registered Dental Assistant.
This opportunity is available because of the collaboration between the Boone EDGE Program and Dr. Matthew Pyfferoen. Boone EDGE is the work-based learning program through the Boone Community School District where students get to “experience real-world work through authentic projects, internships, tours, and speakers.” This is one of many opportunities afforded to students in the Boone EDGE program.
“It is important that we provide high school students a wide variety of career awareness and training opportunities while in high school,” said Lindsey Hyman, Boone EDGE Coordinator. “Fortunately for us, we have amazing partners across the region who are willing to help high school students gain experience related to their field through Boone EDGE. These partnerships truly are a win/win for not only the students but also the employer.”
Students earn high school credit through the Boone EDGE program, while learning on the job skills. For employers, establishing partnerships can help fill the job market gap that exists right now. “A huge benefit for the employer is the fact that they get a student who has proven themselves to us in school and has been hired and trained per the dentist specifications,” said Hyman. “The employer gets a multistep vetting process for employees by partnering with the school because we know these students and can help train and support them prior to applying and entering the workforce.”
When approached with this idea, Dr. Pyfferoen quickly saw an opportunity for his practice to train and hire. Gracie is the second student that Pyfferoen has brought in for on-the-job training from Boone EDGE. The first was Kennedy Lewis in 2022. At the time, Kennedy was a senior at Boone High School and completed the program. She now works full-time in the pediatric dentistry office.
“The labor market is very tight right now, especially in the service and trade industries. This is a great program and a win-win for the students and for our office,” said Dr. Pyfferoen. “If we can train and then hire talented dental assistants, we will utilize that opportunity every time.”
304 Main St.
Ames, Iowa 50010
Phone: (515) 232-2310
About the Ames Chamber
Centrally and conveniently located in the heart of the Midwest and Iowa, Ames is known for its healthy, stable economy, flourishing cultural environment, and the world-renowned Iowa State University.
With over 700 members, the Ames Chamber of Commerce strives to make Ames a better place to live, work, and do business by strengthening the economic vitality and the quality of life in the Ames community.