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CCA clarifies vision for expansion, remodeling to accommodate growth

Board finalizes facilities proposal

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader

TIFFIN– Officials at Clear Creek Amana school district hope $48 million dollars will purchase a lot of much-needed space
They also hope that voters in the district will approve a bond issue to finance the various projects that will provide it.
At yet another special meeting, held Monday, Sept. 30, the board toured the middle school in Tiffin to clarify a proposal for expanding and renovating the building.
According to Keith Johnk of Shive-Hattery, a 60,000 square foot addition would be built on the west end of the school. A two-story structure, it would house a new main entrance, school administrative offices, a new cafeteria, and classrooms on the first floor with a new media center (library) and classrooms on the second. Additionally, new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)– compliant locker rooms would replace current facilities. In the existing building– which dates to 1968, with additions built in the 1980s, 1994 and 1996– the Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system would be overhauled and updated. Also, the electrical system would be improved throughout the building to support the ever-increasing use of technology.
During the tour, middle school principal Brad Fox showed where three classrooms have been reconfigured into two, increasing space and better utilizing the existing facility. There are other rooms, Fox said, which could be combined as well. Superintendent Tim Kuehl noted, “There could be some amount of remodeling, (like) the three rooms to two we discussed, depending on cost.”
Also part of the bond would be a new elementary building based on North Bend Elementary at a site which is yet to be determined. The new school would have three pods, each with two preschool rooms and four kindergarten rooms. Currently the plan calls for a standard, elementary-sized gym as opposed to the full-size gym at North Bend, which was financed in part by the city of North Liberty for use by the city’s recreation department. When a suitable site is located, part of the bond money would be used to purchase the land. Kuehl stated earlier that voters would know the location when they go to cast their ballot.
At Amana Elementary, the HVAC system would be upgraded, ensuring all classroom spaces are air-conditioned.
The high school, opened in 2009, is downstream of the current enrollment wave, and included in the bond would be funds to build an academic wing onto the existing structure to increase capacity. Also, the weight and wrestling rooms would be converted into a second gym to accommodate an increase in the number of P.E. classes as well as to provide additional practice space for the athletic teams. New weight and wrestling rooms would be built on the south side.
Kuehl noted the bond language would establish an absolute limit of $48 million for all of these projects, and said the district can accomplish the work without raising the tax rate on property owners.
“This is due to increasing valuations, the district lowering our cash reserve levy, and lowering our management fund rate,” Kuehl said.