District Facilities Plan Moves Forward – September Vote Planned
Five months into a comprehensive assessment of several Linn-Mar Community School District facilities, OPN Architects presented an update to the Board of Education on April 24.
OPN was hired in December to evaluate the district’s historic elementary schools, Excelsior Middle School, and explore scenarios for two 5-7 buildings and one 8-9 building to support the restructuring plan, which was informed by community feedback and approved by the board in October 2017.
The architecture firm’s findings have resulted in a revised plan, which includes the following strategy to address the district’s continued growth and capacity issues:
- Renovations to the three historic elementary schools (Bowman, Indian Creek, and Wilkins).
- Renovations to turn Excelsior Middle School into a 7th – 8th grade building.
- Construction of two new 5th – 6th grade buildings.
- Planning for a future PreK to 4th grade building
Originally designated as a potential 7th – 9th grade building, OPN found the cost of retrofitting Excelsior for the educational needs of 9th graders to be cost prohibitive for the district. The new plan is more fiscally responsible and forward thinking. It addresses the concerns around additional transitions for students as well as pulling freshmen from the high school, both of which were voiced in response to the previous plan. It also acknowledges the need in the very near future for more capacity in the elementary schools to relieve the pressure in an ever-growing district.
The district intends to expand its use of the Learning Resource Center for high school programming, which will address capacity concerns in upper grades.
This plan is the collaborative result of work over the past five months by the district’s steering committee and OPN Architects. Their investigations have been supported by the efforts of a facilities committee representing a cross-section of faculty, staff, parents, and community members.
The Board of Education will review the proposed plan again on May 8. If approved, they will issue a petition with specific bond language and vote on the language on May 22. The vote would take place on Sept. 12.