Chow & Chat

February 20th, 2019

Maybe you call them Lunch & Learns.  We call them Chow & Chats!  Every month, we gather at the front porch and learn about something totally non-work related from a fellow teammate.  Like the story behind a homegrown charity cause.  Or a favorite vacation destination.  Or raising animals and growing your own food.  Anything goes, and it’s a great way to take a break from talking shop to experience the varied interests of the people we work alongside every day.  What will we learn next?

Plane rides at Grand Jivante

September 10th, 2018

Grand Jivante in Ackley, Iowa is redefining eldercare by providing activities and experiences which embrace adventure and excitement in the everyday lives of seniors.  Andy Meyer from Bergland + Cram partnered with Grand Jivante to provide plane rides to a few residents on a beautiful, end of summer morning during the first week of September.  He also talked about his WWII era plane with those that were unable to board, but wanted to get out on the runway and close to all the action.  Kudos to GJ for making new memories every day for their residents!

One Vision

June 12th, 2018

One Vision, formerly Opportunity Village, serves individuals with disabilities and their families in North Iowa.  For decades, OV hosted much of their clientele in Clear Lake on a large, diverse campus which includes living, working, and recreational opportunities.  A few years back, government mandates started to dictate that these individuals be decentralized and integrated among community neighborhoods, leaving OV with a dilemma.How to continue to focus on providing exceptional care and opportunities for specialized needs, while repurposing their soon to be empty buildings and beautiful 80 acre site?

Bergland + Cram started working with OV in 2016 to determine next steps.  Market research affirmed a demonstrated need for a variety of senior housing in North Iowa, which prompted the OV board to consider transitioning their campus toward a senior living community.

Cerro Gordo County and all of North Iowa are faced with an increased aging population as our baby boomers begin to reach senior citizen age.  Seniors make up 20% of Iowa’s population, 4% more than the national average.  OV recognized that they were uniquely positioned to provide something to this aging population – something that has always been at the core of their business: providing amenities and opportunities to those with specific needs.

If a senior living campus were to start from scratch, in addition to living units, it would require certain amenities.  OV already had several desirable features in place, including a gym, an indoor pool, rooms for work and recreation, as well as a kitchen and open cafeteria multi-purpose space.  What needed to be added to the mix was a variety of residential options and voila, a senior living campus could be created by repurposing much of what already existed.

The campus will provide two types of living as a start.  OV’s original group cottages are being converted into contemporary condos for seniors, ranging from 1,500 – 2,500 SF in size.  The bones of these facilities remained mostly intact, with interior and exterior renovations making them an attractive, contemporary, and affordable option for seniors.  Best of all, they are situated in a serene and secluded area with an abundance of mature trees and walking paths.  The addition of individual entrances and attached garages will transform 9 original condos into 27 units called The Terraces at Glen Oaks.

Along with these private owner condominiums, construction on a new 48 unit apartment building began in early 2018.  The Timbercrest Apartments will be physically linked to the existing amenities on campus, and will offer various sized units with one and two-bedroom options.  These apartments will open in the Summer of 2019, kicking off a new chapter in the life of the OV campus.  For more information visit link to OV site

Living Little with a Tiny Home

February 5th, 2018

Project Manager Cally Niess of Bergland + Cram partnered with NIACC Building trades this year to design and build a one of a kind Tiny Home of her own.

Cally is transitioning her lifestyle to minimalist. In her journey of finding a home after graduating college, she came across the Tiny Home idea. The thought of Tiny Homes being affordable, yet unique housing intrigued her.

“I wasn’t excited about buying a home, it just seemed like something I needed to do because that’s what everyone my age was doing.” Said Cally, “Then it hit me, why am I doing what others are doing? I have always marched to the beat of my own drum, and this shouldn’t be any different.”

In September 2017 NIACC Building Trades began taking applications for custom tiny homes. Cally applied and a few short weeks later she was signing the dotted line and the wheels started turning.

When Cally took to designing her tiny home, she stripped the typical residential home down to its core programs of sleeping space, bathroom, kitchen, hobby space, dining room, living room/relaxation, general storage and closet.

Exterior of Cally's Tiny Home

In exploring these program elements, Cally identified which could be consolidated to share space. In bringing general storage and living space together, the living room will be built on an elevated platform to house totes of items such as seasonal clothing, craft/art supplies, etc underneath.  The half-height wall that encloses the storage, acts as the anchor to a flip up table that will be used for dining and a work station for hobbies.  The closet and sleeping space is consolidated in a sense where the steps going up to the lofted bed is being used as a closet to hold all clothing.

“It took a lot of dissecting and imagination of what I wanted my space to feel like. It’s fun to see a space shrink – yet still be able to fit my needs.” Said Cally.

Continue to follow Cally’s journey to Tiny Homeownership with her blog:

Anderson Receives Herman Miller Scholarship

November 10th, 2017

Kerry Anderson, Architect at Bergland + Cram in Mason City will be traveling to a widely attended healthcare conference in Orlando, FL this weekend thanks to the Herman Miller Healthcare Scholars Program in partnership with the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health.

Herman Miller Healthcare sponsors individuals to attend the conference of over 3600 participants each year. This year, Anderson was one of 7 selected. The scholarship includes registration to the conference as well as reimbursement of other expenses.

Kerry’s interest in Healthcare design sparked during a studio program at North Dakota State University where she designed a water research laboratory and later designed a cancer treatment center as her thesis project.

“The technical application of design skills was exactly what drew me to that particular studio.” said Anderson. “I fell in love with the marriage between highly technical requirements and the human experience.”

The Healthcare Design Expo & Conference provides more than 100 educational sessions with the latest strategies, research, and trends in the healthcare design industry and is organized to provide comprehensive content with inspirational keynotes, panel discussions, and networking. An exhibit hall is available for attendees to view the newest innovations in healthcare design products.

“While attending the conference will certainly be a springboard for developing my own knowledge base and design philosophies around healthcare, I am even more excited about the information I can bring back to share with my design firm and my community,” she said.

“Mason City’s healthcare network serves a wide area of patients in North Central Iowa, and I believe it is important for those patients to be given the same consideration in care and design that is afforded to larger population centers,” explains Anderson. The conference runs November 11-14.

Happy Holidays

December 9th, 2016

From all of us at Bergland + Cram, we wish you the happiest of seasons and holiday cheer. For your viewing pleasure, we made a special clip for you! (Click Here)

House. Home.

July 27th, 2016

Two similar words with vastly different meanings according to our residential architects.

Whereas a house simply contains you and requires that you adjust your lifestyle to its contents, we believe that a home compliments and enhances your way of life.

We create custom homes throughout the Midwest, partnering with clients to combine functionality, cost efficiency, and inspired design.

Contact us today to discuss your next project and discover what a rewarding experience it can be to work with an experienced home designer to create the space of your dreams.

Anderson Appointed to AIA NE Section Board

June 21st, 2016

Kerry Anderson, Intern Architect with Bergland + Cram has been appointed to the AIA Iowa North East Section Board of Directors. The North East Section is part of the American Institute of Architects Iowa Chapter.

“I wanted to join the NE Section Board to become more connected to the community of architects in the area,” said Kerry. “Just like any profession, networking and sharing ideas among our peers in the industry only makes everyone better designers, thus raising expectations across the board for a higher quality of design, which in turn makes our communities better places in which to live, work, and play.”

Kerry graduated from North Dakota State University in 2011 and has been with Bergland + Cram since 2014. She recently passed all seven of her Architect Registration Exams and will gain full licensure after completion of her Intern Development Program hours.

She and her husband Larry reside in Mason City.

The AIA Iowa North East Section enhances the ability of the AIA Iowa chapter to serve its members.  The section provides continuing education opportunities, networking opportunities, public outreach and serves as a sounding board to relay information to the state chapter.

Giving Back at the North Iowa Band Festival

May 26th, 2016

Band Fest, Bergland Cram, ServiceThe 78th annual North Iowa Band Festival will take place this weekend right here in River City. Dana Thomas, Interior Designer for Bergland + Cram, is on the ground floor behind the scenes with planning.

Serving her 4th year on the committee, Dana acts as Volunteer Coordinator for guest services, information, and merchandise sales. Each year the Band Festival committee looks for close to 100 volunteers to help the 65,000 men, women, and children who attend the weekend.

Bergland + Cram enjoys being involved in the community. For Dana, helping the North Iowa Band Festival was a perfect fit.

“I was looking for a fun way to get more involved in the community and this is a huge event for Mason City every year.” Said Thomas, “Growing up I always enjoyed going to the events. I always wanted to give back to the festival for providing this for the community.”

The very first Band Festival in 1928 was to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Mason City and has since grown, with the most popular attraction being the annual parade (that’s on Saturday.)

“I feel like a little kid saying it but I always hate when I miss the parade so I make it a point to be there every year!” said Thomas, “I also appreciate this event is a family friendly and free event for everyone.”

Being the birth place of one of the first ever grammy award winners, Meredith Willson (most famous in these parts for the Music Man), Mason City celebrates music, and the North Iowa Band Festival shows a community coming together, always rooted in its musical heritage.

For more information on the North Iowa Band Festival and for Schedule of events go to:

If you’re interested in seeing one of the first ever grammy awards in person, check out the Music Man Square Museum in Mason City.

Little Free Library Coming to Harding Elementary

April 22nd, 2016

The success of the Little Free Library stationed in front of Hoover Elementary in Mason City has led to the likelihood of more structures popping up at other elementary schools throughout the district.

Bergland + Cram is partnering with the Mason City Community School District to design a Little Free Library for each public school in Mason City, most recently at Harding Elementary.

“I am proud to be a part of this great community service project to give back to the community that gave me so much growing up” said Kelly Harbacheck, Intern Architect for Bergland + Cram.

The project involves students from many grade levels in the Mason City area. Elementary students at Harding provided ideas and thoughts about what they want for a Little Free Library, and were the final judges on colors chosen. The North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) Building Trades class and Mason City High School’s Shop Class will complete construction.

The MCHS Shop Class will start off by pouring the foundation for the library while NIACC Building Trades acts as the General Contractor. The two classes will work together as Building Trades does the frame work and pours concrete, and the Construction class creates the book shelves and large scale letters that make up the design.

“This is a great project which I believe helps get the younger population involved, who are still learning about the profession, both in architecture and the field of construction.” said Intern Architect Brad Paige, “It is an exciting time in a student’s life so any information I can share to help guide their direction is always a rewarding experience for me.”

Funds are being provided courtesy of the Cerro Gordo County Medical Society and Medical Alliance.

“We felt compelled to provide this opportunity to access free books to each school aged child in Cerro Gordo county.” Said Sarah Smith, Co-President of the Cerro Gordo County Medical Alliance. “Our mission was to promote literacy and reading with an ultimate goal of building a [Little Free Library] on each Elementary school campus in Mason City and Clear Lake.”

Costs will be kept low with labor and materials donated by area businesses. Northern Cedar Service will provide roof materials, J&J Welding will craft the steel for the roof, and Mason City Glass will create the plexi-glass covers of the book shelves. All three businesses also donated to Hoover’s Little Free Library.

The partnership with Mason City High School and NIACC will provide the future of our Building and Trades Career Professionals with a hands on experience they will continually get to see be used by the North Iowa Community for many years to come. Students will also be able to use this project experience as a portfolio piece in the future shall they decide to stay on the building trades path.

“Whenever students get the opportunity to do hands on work, they connect their learning to real life situations. We can simulate that in the Industrial Technology labs in very meaningful ways but to do this in the community, they will have the added satisfaction of being able to let others see and use what they have been a part of building.” Said Richard Evans, Industrial Technology Teacher of Mason City High School, “When you build something well and it lasts, it develops pride, and we are striving to develop craftsmanship in what we do.”

The Harding Little Free Library is aimed to begin spring 2016.