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ICCSD Unveils Renovation Timeline

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The Iowa City Community School District has revealed a preliminary timeline for the next 10 years of renovations on current schools and construction of new schools, to account for an extra 2,500 students in that time.

Superintendent Stephen Murley said funding the nearly $260 million project will be the biggest challenge.

The district will ask voters to increase the general operations levy over a period of several years, meaning about a $1.17 property tax increase for those in the district. The rest will be paid for by the recently passed $127 million Revenue Purpose Statement and the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, which extends until 2025.

The proposed timeline from the district goes as follows:

  • Renovations on the current elementary schools would start in the spring of 2014, with some students rotating though temporary facilities to avoid construction. 
  • Hoover Elementary School would close a year earlier than expected. Traditional students would stop attending there in 2017. Hoover would be used as a transitional building to keep students away from construction in other schools until 2021.
  • Construction on the new elementary schools would happen in 2016 for South Elementary, 2018 for North Elementary, and 2021 for East Elementary. 
  • The Junior High renovations would happen from 2018 to 2020.
  • The high school renovations would happen in two phases, and start right away.
  • Construction on the new North High School would break ground in the fall of 2014.
  • The district wants to have students graduating from North High School in the 2021-22 school year.

That will free up a lot of space at West High School, which is currently at capacity.

"And I think that's going to be important to our whole school district, because we've lived with the stress on capacity for a numbers of years, so I think that's No. 1," said West High principal Dr. Jerry Arganbright.

The district will also be implementing its new diversity policy concurrently, which needs to be 100 percent in place by 2018. The policy involved rezoning students in the district based on the numbers of students receiving free and reduced lunch status at each school, and Murley said that parents would receive notice of a rezone a year before any renovations start at a given school.

"We want to make sure that that transition is smooth for students. As a student, if you started at one of the other high schools and finished at one of the other high schools, that's probably OK. But if you start at one of the high schools, move to another high school, move back to another high school -- probably not OK," Murley said.

He wanted to ensure parents that they should not worry about the consistency of their children's education if they happen to be rezoned or moved because of renovations.

There are still a lot of questions that the board wants to have answered before voting on this proposed timeline, but they will not vote on the issue until the Nov. 12 meeting.

For more information on the Facilities Master Plan, visit the ICCSD website.

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