Council to vote on Sabin School memorandum


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The Iowa City City Council will vote today on whether to approve the signing of a memorandum of agreement with various agencies on the salvage and demolition of the former Sabin Elementary School.

The agreement would accept the review FEMA and the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission conducted on Sabin, which suggest saving limestone arches and some other architectural elements of the building, said Robert Miklo, historic preservation planner for Iowa City.

“There is a federal requirement for review of historic spots to see if there is any adverse effect from tearing the building down,” he said.

The review is mandatory because of the use of FEMA funds in the project, said city Economic Development Director Jeff Davidson. FEMA historians in addition to the city’s Historic Preservation Commission completed the review.

“We don’t have an opportunity to avoid or minimize, and so we developed a memorandum of agreement that outlines measures that will offset those adverse effects,” said Teri Toye, an environmental protection specialist with FEMA.

The suggestions from the review are to salvage the limestone arches and steps, as well as a name and date brick at the school, which would be used at a new park in the Riverfront Crossings Area that the city is planning, Davidson said.

Sabin is tentatively scheduled to be demolished in coordination with the completion of the new MidWestOne Bank building, something agreed upon when the bank sold the site of the new UI music building to the university.

Currently, MidWestOne Bank houses loan officers in Sabin until the completion of the new facility, Miklo said.

Sabin was an elementary school, then the administrative building for the Iowa City School District.

“The city was not initially involved with the decision to demolish the building,” Davidson said. “But the city is involved now with the salvaging, which the university and the bank wanted the city to be a part of.”

The university expects the razing of Sabin and salvage of the elements to cost around $600,000, said UI Business Manager David Kieft.

He said a private contractor hired by the UI will recover the components that will then be delivered to the city’s Public Works Department.

The contract with MidWestOne Bank states once its new building is completed, the UI will raze Sabin to make room for a parking ramp and town-home development, Kieft said.

The new building for MidWestOne is slated to be finished during the spring and summer of 2015.

“The university has already consented to the memorandum the council will look at,” Kieft said. “Now, the council just needs to approve the resolution to move forward.”

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