District officials to talk facilities master plan's future

BY KRISTEN EAST | JULY 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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Ahead of tonight’s meeting, one Iowa City School Board member said many questions remain unanswered after the Facilities Steering Committee presented two recommendations for the future of the district’s schools.

“I think there’s a lot of questions that are still out there,” School Board member Tuyet Dorau said.

She said she believes the biggest concerns for the community involve how school boundaries may change and how the district will pay for the chosen plan.

“I don’t think there’s ever going to be a perfect plan,” she said, noting it’s important for people to welcome compromise.

School Board members will meet tonight to further discuss a plan for the district’s future. The discussion will revolve around two recommendations — A and B — set forth by the Facilities Master Planning Steering Committee.

The committee started a series of six committee meetings and seven public-input meetings earlier this year as a way to craft a plan for future and potential construction projects.

Under A, Hills Elementary would be rebuilt at its present location and would add 100 students.

Roosevelt Elementary, now repurposed as the Roosevelt Education Center, and Hoover would be swing facilities and would close after other facilities are renovated or constructed. A new high school would be built, and North Central Junior High in North Liberty would see a more than 100-student addition. Additionally, two Iowa City and one northern Johnson County elementary schools would also open, and Longfellow and Mann would be renovated.

Roosevelt would remain open and be renovated under Proposal B, but Hoover, Hills, and Lincoln would be swing facilities, and Hills would not be rebuilt. The other portions of Proposal A are also in Proposal B.

School Board member Jeff McGinness said he looks forward to discussing the plan more in-depth at tonight’s meeting.

“I’m striving for a plan the board can get behind and move the district in a positive direction,” he said.

Dorau said she has not decided whether she supports closing schools, and she was surprised to see public criticism over the possibility of Hoover closing.

“I think there’s been a lot of community input as of whether or not to close schools, and that needs to be brought into the discussion,” she said.

Cassidy Riley contributed to this story.

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