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District to discuss elementary schools and district future

BY QUENTIN MISIAG | JULY 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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While School Board and Facilities Master Planning Steering Committee members appear in agreement with local residents about the growing greater Iowa City community, and resulting repercussions on district-wide buildings, months of contentious, unsettled discussions indicate that the buck stops there.

So what’s at the center of debate?

The district is mulling final details of a master facilities plan that will dictate future construction patterns and trends in Iowa’s fifth-largest school district.

At a project cost of about $250 million, the framework is to introduce three new elementary schools, including two in Iowa City proper, and a 1,500-student new high school in the district’s fast-growing north corridor. Renovations and additions at existing schools, including historic preservation projects at Longfellow and Mann Elementary, are also planned.

Area residents say representatives from the Davenport-based BLDD Architects firm, as well as several steering committee members, do not have the best interest of the community, its kids, or educators in mind.

With the district long known for a connection of neighborhood schools, community members have cried foul over the past several months, as a number of scenarios, turned recommendations, call for the closure of such buildings.

School Board members will again meet today to review issues at the district’s headquarters, 1725 North Dodge St., at 6 p.m. Contrary to a number of previous meetings, the public will have the chance to comment.


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