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.

NIACC Opens State of the Art Health Simulation Center

March 24th, 2016

North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, IA recently added a Health Simulation Center to improve hands on educational training for medical field students.

“The center has proven to be a great learning environment and very ‘life-like’ because of the attention to detail,” notes Health Simulation Center Coordinator Shannon Dodd. “The center was built with students in mind.”

Nursing and EMT students are able to practice skills in a very real and high risk/low incident environment. For those already in the workforce, the lab environment mirrors the actual layout of regional healthcare facilities and provides an accurate setting for continued education training.

“Students as well as healthcare staff from surrounding hospitals and clinics involved in continuing education programs have found it to be a beneficial learning environment,” states Dodd.

A fresh and bold interior scheme demonstrates the college’s commitment to the latest in technology and progressive education environments. North Iowa Area Community College has partnered with Bergland + Cram on projects for over three decades. To learn more about NIACC’s medical program offerings, visit

Over $1600 Raised for Cupid’s Undie Run

March 1st, 2016

Bergland + Cram prides itself on being involved with our community and supporting causes important to our team members. Recently, many of our staff volunteered or participated in the 2016 Cupid’s Undie Run – Mason City in support of our graphic designer, Loni Dirksen, who suffers from Neurofibromatosis.

cupids undie run

Cupid’s Undie Run is a mile-ish long annual fun run held in cities nation-wide around Valentine’s Day. Participants strip down to their skivvies (or stay fully clothed) to raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The mission of the Children’s Tumor Foundation is to research and find a cure for Neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder which affects 1 in 3000 births. NF causes tumors to grow along the nervous system and has the potential to cause complications such as deafness, blindness, learning disabilities, and chronic pain among many more side effects.

Why undies?

“Children and adults with NF suffer with feeling uncomfortable every day. Whether it’s because of their appearance, or because of where tumors are growing on their bodies.” says Loni, who is also the Mason City Race Director for Cupid’s Undie Run. “We can stand feeling uncomfortable for one day in our undies if it means raising awareness and helping the Children’s Tumor Foundation reach their goal of ending NF.”

The Bergland + Cram team raised over $1600, which contributed to the total of over $80,000 raised in Mason City!

Foreshoe Attends Grassroots Conference

February 26th, 2016

This week the American Institute of Architects held the AIA GrassrootsLeadership Conference. It is an essential professional development resource for those who want to become better civic and chapter leaders. Over 600 AIA members attended the conference, including Principal Doug Foreshoe from Bergland +Cram.

The AIA Iowa chapter had one scholarship available to an individual AIA Iowa member who holds a three year leadership position (such as directors, section leaders and boards, and committee chairs.) This year the full scholarship to the conference was awarded to Foreshoe. Doug is on the Board of Directors for AIA Iowa, Board of Directors for the Iowa Architectural Foundation, and is also the current President of the AIA Iowa North East Section.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from so many inspiring and motivational leaders in the industry.” said Foreshoe

This year, nationally recognized and International speakers spoke in Detroit about business, entrepreneurship, and bringing the architectural community together to promote sustainable change in community and environmental health. Workshops included: leadership, working with community leaders, engaging communities, communication and team building. Foreshoe will utilize the valuable leadership insight gained from the conference as he continues to work with clients and communities throughout Iowa.

Ladies Build Day

November 25th, 2015

The ladies of Bergland + Cram got out of the office recently to experience the flip side of architecture and design….CONSTRUCTION!

We donned our safety goggles and ventured to Clear Lake to spend a day working on the Habitat for Humanity house for the Gerhardt family. While the weather outside was frightful (first snowstorm of the year), the drywall finishing inside was so delightful (thanks to some serious space heaters). We learned taping and mudding techniques and made a huge dent in the walls and ceilings. Figuratively, not literally of course – we want to be invited back!

Bergland + Cram believes in the investment of time and talent to build up our community and raise awareness for causes we believe in. Habitat for Humanity of North Central Iowa provides home ownership to area families in need by building safe, decent, and affordable housing. Construction of Habitat homes relies on the help of volunteers of all backgrounds and experience levels. Rick Wyborny, on site supervisor, does a great job of teaching a variety of skills on site.

As of 2015, our local Habitat for Humanity has completed homes for 45 families and five home repair projects throughout a six county region. Contact them if you would like to try your hand at swinging a hammer for a good cause. Find out more here.

“Volunteering is rewarding and this task in particular was very therapeutic,” says Dana Thomas, Interior Designer with B+C. “We might have had a bit of a kink in our necks at the end of the day, but we all agree it was so worth it!”

It’s always great to get out from behind our desks and have a hand in shaping a space, in contrast to drawing and 3D modeling back at the office. We look forward to more hands on adventures in the field!

Little Free Library Celebrates a Year of Free Books

October 13th, 2015

Little Free LibraryDuring the summer of 2014, Bergland + Cram partnered with Hoover Elementary in Mason City, IA to design and build a Little Free Library (LFL). B+C began the process by speaking with school children about their thoughts on books, libraries, and ideal reading spaces. The firm explored schemes and refined a design concept that became much more than the traditional box on a post. The end result is a custom, kid-scaled structure which houses books at various levels and has a built-in reading bench.

“When Principal Barbara Wells approached us to assist with this project, we brushed up on the concept since it was relatively new to us,” said Senior Project Manager Joe Anderson. “After a little research, we decided that such a great sharing amenity for our local school system deserved to be more than just an exchange. It should be a destination for the school and neighborhood to interact. It was also a chance to put down our pencils and get our hands dirty with swinging hammers, welding, and pouring concrete.”

One year later the library is still going strong. “It’s exciting to see students riding their bikes and stopping here to check out the latest available books,” said Principal Wells. “I recently talked with two students and one of them shared that she likes to take books home to read to her brother.”

Because the library has been so well received, the district is exploring options to build more at other schools.

For more information or to locate a LFL near you, visit

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Newton Historic District Design Guidelines

September 18th, 2015

Working with various entities in Newton, Iowa, Bergland + Cram produced a comprehensive guideline document for their community as it undertakes rehabilitation within it’s recently designated downtown historic district.  Downtown Newton blossomed and changed dramatically at the height of Maytag’s success in the 1950’s and 60’s.  A healthy dose of mid-century buildings mixed with historic storefronts and churches from the turn of the century line the courtyard square, creating a broad and varied downtown aesthetic.  The Newton Historic District Design Guidelines aim to educate local building owners about the importance and techniques behind rehabilitating their individual properties while preserving the valuable collective asset of their Main Street community.

Historic Preservation in Newton, Iowa

August 19th, 2015

The City of Newton and the Newton Historic Preservation Commission are currently partnered with Bergland + Cram to create Downtown Historic Preservation Design Guidelines for property owners within Newton’s Historic Downtown and Main Street Districts.

Kristy King and Scott Borcherding have been meeting with city officials, community members, and business owners to gather ideas and present draft versions for feedback.

In designing the guidelines, Bergland + Cram has taken into account the important pieces of Newton including the many aspects and styles of architecture within the districts, it’s Get to Know Newton brand, and the impact of Maytag Corporation on the downtown.

“Newton has many mid-century modern buildings which reflect one of its boom times, but there are interesting things from all eras” says King.  “It’s been a pleasure getting to know the community and provide something that will help them preserve their uniqueness.”

You Are Here

February 16th, 2015

Bergland + Cram is a growing firm with lots of great projects on the horizon.  We’re looking to expand our team with individuals who share our unique and fun approach to architecture.  Are you the next big thing at B+C? View job postings.