People create their legacies in different ways.
Dean Fajen, who will retire at the end of the month after 32 years as manager of the Architecture Department at HGM Associates, will leave behind a legacy of buildings ... hundreds of them, big and small, designed for various purposes and scattered throughout Council Bluffs and the surrounding area.
A native of Treynor, Fajen graduated from high school there in 1972, at which time he enrolled as a student at Iowa Western Community College, graduating in 1974. He moved on to finish his collegiate education and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1978 with degrees in both architecture and structural engineering.
Although he said his degrees appear to be an odd combination, the two disciplines need to work together to create a successful design.
While still a student at UNO, Fajen took a position with Kirkham Michael and Associates, an Omaha engineering firm, remaining with that firm after graduating from college until 1987 when he came to HGM Associates to start and manage the Architecture Department.
Asked how many buildings he’s designed over the course of his career., Fajen paused then answered, “Hundreds.”
Following is a list of some of the buildings Fajen has designed over the years:
Star Cinema Theater, American Red Cross, Council Bluffs Fire Department Greenview Fire Station No. 4, Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, All Care Health facility, city of Council Bluffs Operations facility, city of Council Bluffs Fleet Maintenance facility, Echo Lighting Electric Supply and Frontier Bank.
Also, Council Bluffs Savings Bank, Harmony Court, IWCC’s Kinney Hall, IWCC’s Football/Wrestling facility, IWCC’s Dr. John and Jean Marshall Wellness Center, the Council Bluffs Recreation Complex, the Gale Wickersham Athletic Complex, TS Bank on Kanesville Blvd. and the TS Bank on West Broadway.
Also, Omaha Fire Station No. 3, the Dodge Park Golf Course clubhouse, Crossroads of Western Iowa, Iowa Interstate Railroad office facility, Lewis & Clark Monument, McKenzie Hills strip mall, the Bach office complex, several People’s Bank facilities — now American National Bank, the SAC Credit Union, the Pottawattamie County Veterans Affairs facility and the Broadway Skate Park shelter.
Asked to name a favorite from among the hundreds of buildings he’s designed, Fajen was quick to name the TS Bank building at the corner of Kanesville Blvd. and South Main Street.
“Since the downtown TS Bank is on the fringe of the historic 100 Block area in Council Bluffs, the Guttaus wanted their new banking facility to relate to the older historic buildings in the area yet convey a sense of modernism to reflect TS Bank’s banking philosophy,” he said.
”A blended bank exterior was developed, incorporating stone and brick for the historic feel and implementing metal panels and sunshades for a modern look,” Fajen said. “The Guttaus are very pleased with the resulting design of their new headquarters building for TS Bank.”
“Dean has been a friend and trusted colleague for over 30 years,” said Ron Tekippe, president of HGM Associates. “His knowledge, abilities and connections with clients will truly be missed at HGM.”
A retirement celebration for Fajen will be held Wednesday at the HGM offices, 640 Fifth Ave., from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
Fajen and his wife of 46 years, Linda, have three grown daughters and 11 grandchildren that they hope to spend more time with after retirement as well as doing some traveling.
“It’s going to be an adjustment,” Fajen said of retirement, “but I’m looking forward to it.”
“From all the HGM Family, we hope Dean has a long, happy and healthy retirement,” Tekippe added.