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Oran Pape Building

Quick Facts

Building Name, Address:

Oran Pape Building, 215 East 7th Street, Des Moines

Primary Occupants:

Department of Public Safety

Years Constructed:

1915, Renovations and addition: 2005-2007

Designers & Builders:

1915: unknown
Architect of Record - Design Alliance, Inc. of Waukee, IA
General Contractor - Hansen Company, Inc. of Johnston, IA


The Oran Pape Building was originally constructed in 1915 as a branch house for the International Harvester Company of America. It is believed the lower floor was used as a showroom for the tractors and farm equipment the company produced, while the upper floors stored manufactured parts for the company. The building was used for other purposes, including possibly as apartments, before the State purchased the building and began using it as the Records and Property Building.

A major renovation of the building began in June 2005 to re-purpose the building for state offices for the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Architects Design Alliance Inc. of Des Moines and Bahr Vermeer Haecher Architects of Omaha undertook the $18.5-million project, which consisted of remodeling and renovating the original structure, and constructing an addition that would blend in with the original building, which is eligible for listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. The renovations and construction were completed in 2007.

The Oran Pape Building now houses about 180 employees in the following offices and divisions of the DPS: Commissioner's Office, Professional Standards Bureau, Public Information, Division of Criminal Investigation, Iowa State Patrol Headquarters, Intelligence Bureau, Administrative Services Division, State Fire Marshal's Office, Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, Narcotics Enforcement, and the Plans, Research & Training Bureau.

Green Features

During the renovation a number of "green" concepts were utilized:

  • Operable - Low E windows with thermal break.
  • Fritted glass on curtain walls to reduce solar heat gain.
  • Window roller shades with 95% opacity on north side of building and 97% opacity on the remaining three sides. Reflective backing to reduce solar heat gain but transparent enough to still see outdoors.
  • Glass-block flooring on fifth floor to allow light to filter to fourth floor. Clerestory windows above fifth floor also provide natural light into the building.
  • Glass butt-glazing in offices to allow natural light to filter into center core of building, reducing electrical lighting loads.
  • Higher percentage of materials brought to site within 500-mile radius to reduce fuel costs for shipping.
  • Stone coping and brick recycled or re-used on-site to reduce waste in landfills.
  • Native plants for landscaping, capable of withstanding arid conditions. Landscape irrigation system not provided to reduce water usage.
  • Energy efficient T5 and T8 lamps used in light fixtures.
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Historical photograph of the Oran Pape Building, which was originally built as a branch location for the International Harvester Company.

Photo by: State Historical Society of Iowa

View of the Capitol from a fifth floor office.

Photo by: Cameron Campbell

Reception desk at the Oran Pape Building.

Photo by: Cameron Campbell