Designer: Story Design
Project Size: 25,000 sq. ft.
July 19, 2018 brought disaster to central Iowa, with tornadoes ripping through Marshalltown, Pella, Bondurant and surrounding towns. Among the damaged buildings left in the path of these tornadoes was RACOM Corporation in Marshalltown.
RACOM designs, sells, installs and maintains all technologies used in what they call “the second half of the 911 response equation.” That is, they specialize in phone systems, radios, pagers, voice recorders, warning lights/sirens, dispatch console furniture and equipment.They operate in 15 states, and over 300 public safety agencies rely on their services for daily radio communications. In Iowa, seven of the state’s eight largest counties and four of its five largest cities rely on RACOM to make sure their communications are uninterrupted. Though they have 13 locations total, they’re headquartered at their facility in Marshalltown.
The tornado that plowed through Marshalltown took with it the south and west walls of RACOM’s fourth level (left) and much of the overall exterior. RACOM’s employees in the building took cover at the time of the tornado, and fortunately there was no loss of life or serious injury. Redundancies in RACOM’s communications systems kept all critical functions up and running the entire time.
“I can’t remember a time in my life feeling so sick to my stomach,” said RACOM President and CEO Mike Miller. “I thought, ‘Someone may have died,’ and secondly, ‘My business is gone.’ Fortunately none of that was true.”
It was clear that RACOM needed immediate help from experienced contractors who could seal up the building to make it weatherproof. Miller says one of his first calls was to Story President Mike Espeset.
“The Story guys were in Marshalltown by 6:30 the next morning,” Miller said. “My long-term relationship with Mike and the guys at Story gave me faith they were going to make stuff happen. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind we were hiring Story to help rebuild.”
Story deployed to the site to begin wrapping the exterior of the building in plastic wrap to protect the inside from the elements before exterior sheathing could be installed. In the following weeks and months, Story helped to fully secure the building using a weatherproof DensElement Barrier System until the permanent exterior was applied.
Story signed on to be the design-builder for the renovations to the building. In November 2019, Story and team finished the reconstruction of the building. Story Design designed the new exterior of the building and renovations to the fourth and fifth floors. The reconstruction included exterior metal panel rain skin system, new mechanical and electrical owner upgrades, fourth level conference area renovation, new finishes in fifth level office spaces, server equipment upgrades and building code upgrades as needed.
RACOM employees were allowed to occupy the building from start to finish.
“We challenged Story to allow us to stay in the building during construction, and they rose to the task,” said Miller. “We’re really proud of this building and what it means to the Marshalltown community as it continues to recover from the tornado.”