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Committee Discusses Solutions For IC School Growth

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The concern is real for Iowa City parents.

"If we could see into the future we would have known this 10 years ago and would already been prepared," parent Jim Tate said.

Wednesday night, it was up to a committee of business owners, parents, and teachers to decide how to deal with the school district's upcoming population boom.

"What they're doing is taking a look at the future, and developing a planned response," said Sam Johnson with BLDD Architects.

Tonight it came down to 4 scenarios, all with similarities - as far as high school construction is concerned.

"All of the scenarios involve opening up a new high school," Johnson said.

There were also several major differences, especially when it comes to older facilities.

"There are some plans where one building or two buildings are proposed to be retired," Johnson said.

One plan changes the grade configuration, changing school grades to Kindergarten through 5th grade and 6th grade through 8th grade.

Some parents say they are worried about building more that the population growth requires.

"Cause eventually that's going to stop, and then are we going to have more buildings than we need and then have to look at selling buildings closing buildings," Tate said.

The hope is that the community can bring it all those options and opinions together and guide the school district into the future.

"We've got some real diverse opinions, and so we're trying to develop consensus so people can bridge those differing opinions and recognize what's best for the district and the long term interests," Johnson said.

After 4 hours of meeting, the committee eventually stuck to two options - 1D and 4C. They both share the following changes, which would take place over the next 10 years:
  • Hoover Elementary will be used as a swing space, and then closed
  • North Central Junior High would receive an addition to the building. The junior high would then feed into a brand new high school, which will have a 1,400 to 1,600 student capacity
  • Horace Mann and Longfellow Elementary would undergo a 'historic restoration'
The two scenarios will be brought back to the district's board in July, where a decision is expected to be made.
 
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