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Site Features Policy for the Capitol Complex

The Department of Administrative Services oversees all requests for additions to the Capitol grounds, working in conjunction with the Capitol Planning Commission on features that will have a significant impact on the campus. If you are interested in having a statue, monument, fountain, sculpture or other piece – referred to as a “site feature” – placed on the Capitol Complex grounds, please review the information below. If you are interested in having a tree, bench or picnic table placed and dedicated in honor of a loved one, please see our Memorial Program page.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What qualifies to be a site feature on the Capitol Complex?
  2. What if I am interested in honoring a family member, friend, co-worker, etc. on the Capitol grounds?
  3. How do I place a request for a monument (or other site feature) on the State Capitol Complex?
  4. What is the approval process?
  5. Can a sponsor modify an approved project?
  6. Who pays for the long-term maintenance and conservation of the project?
  7. What happens to funds already raised if the project is not completed?
  8. Is there a deadline for raising funds?
  9. Who is liable for the project?
  10. Can a site feature be moved once it is placed on the Capitol Complex?
  11. What monuments exist today?

Q1: What qualifies to be a site feature on the Capitol Complex?

A1: The Site Features Policy outlines the following governing principles:

Site Features on the Capitol Grounds shall:

  1. Preserve and enhance the dignity, beauty, architectural integrity, and the public use and enjoyment of the Iowa State Capitol Complex.
  2. Protect the most scenic public views to and from the Capitol.
  3. Not interfere with any existing Site Features, Capitol Complex buildings, or public functions.
  4. Be sensitive to the relationship of the Iowa State Capitol Complex to adjacent neighborhoods and the city of Des Moines.
  5. Accommodate pedestrian and motorized and non-motorized vehicular traffic that promote public accessibility where appropriate.
  6. Be consistent with the Iowa State Capitol Complex Master Plan.
  7. Be nonpartisan, meaning the Site Feature is not based upon, influenced by, affiliated with or supporting the interests or policies of a single political party.
  8. Provide an enriching experience that illuminates and celebrates common values and broadens understanding of Iowa's heritage and culture.
  9. Not identify financial contributors to the Site Feature unless authorized by executive order of the governor or joint resolution of the General Assembly.
  10. Comply with applicable Americans with Disability Act standards.
  11. Consist of materials chosen for durability, appearance and maintainability.
  12. When honoring an event, individual or group of individuals, only be accepted following the 10th anniversary of the event; the 10th anniversary of the individual’s death; or the death of the last surviving member of the group.

Q2: What if I am interested in honoring a family member, friend, co-worker, etc. on the Capitol grounds?

A2: Please consider the Memorial Tree and Bench Program, which allows sponsors to purchase a tree, bench, picnic table or like item for placement on the grounds. A plaque can also be placed with these items, identifying who they are honoring.

Q3: How do I place a request for a monument (or other site feature) on the State Capitol Complex?

A3: Requests for site features should be directed to the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to be reviewed by the Capitol Planning Commission. Please review the guidelines laid out in the Site Features Policy, then fill out an application form and follow the directions in the form for submittal.

Q4: What is the approval process?

A4: A proposed site feature will be reviewed by the Capitol Planning Commission (CPC). Applications for temporary site features are reviewed by the Department of Administrative Services, which may or may not consult with the CPC regarding the request. Please review the complete Site Features Policy for more information.

Q5: Can a sponsor modify an approved project?

A5: The sponsor must request advance written approval from DAS to modify an approved project. DAS will forward all design-related changes to the Capitol Planning Commission for review and comment.

Q6: Who pays for the long-term maintenance and conservation of the project?

A6: Site Features must, at a minimum, dedicate 15 percent of the total project cost for a maintenance and conservation endowment.

Q7: What happens to funds already raised if the project is not completed?

A7: If the project is not completed, the sponsor shall return the remaining funds to the donors.

Q8: Is there a deadline for raising funds?

A8: There will be a deadline for raising funds to cover the cost of the project and a deadline for completion of the project. If deadlines are not met, the agreement may be terminated at the option of DAS.

Q9: Who is liable for the project?

A9: The sponsor will assume liability for the project until the title and ownership are transferred to the State of Iowa.

Q10: Can a site feature be moved once it is placed on the Capitol Complex?

A10: DAS reserves the right to move or alter approved projects if it is determined that such a move or alteration would be in the best interest of the Capitol Complex Master Plan.

Q11: What monuments exist today?

A11: A map, photos and descriptions of the current monuments, sculptures and other site features are available on the DAS website here.