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Contingency plans formed ahead of Feb. 5 vote

IOWA CITY– Moving quickly to get the word out about the district-wide vote in February 2013 for a new revenue purpose statement (RPS), Iowa City Community School District (ICCSD) officials have held a press conference and informational meetings to explain the ballot move that will enable the schools to borrow up to $100 million.
Another RPS presentation will be held Wed., Nov. 28, at 6:30 p.m. at Shimek Elementary, with more planned for Dec. 3 (West High, 7-8 p.m.), Dec. 11 (Borlaug Elementary, 7:30 p.m.), Dec. 12 (Lucas Elementary, 7 p.m.), and Dec. 13 (Hills Elem., 6:30 p.m.) before the end of the year.
At the Nov. 20 school board meeting superintendent Stephen Murley reminded school administrators that they could not take sides on the issue. School officials are presenting information on the district website, and they say borrowing against the projected revenue stream (up to 2029) will allow ICCSD to implement a district plan that will allow them to address multiple needs for existing buildings and new construction.
The district is presenting the revenue repurposing as a chance to borrow on revenue anticipated until 2029. Whether voters will grant a new RPS remains to be seen, so the schools are planning for both outcomes.
School administration will bring a comprehensive facilities plan for the district that moves ahead with short-term renovation and remodeling for existing schools and has placeholders for larger projects.
The front end of the plan would enable the schools to take advantage of the summer construction season, Murley said.
“Penn Elementary is targeted relatively early in the process,” Murley noted.
He ticked off some of the other possible projects, including two Iowa City elementary schools, a North Liberty elementary school, and beginning to plan for another high school by 2017, stressing that each project was merely a placeholder that would be examined in light of outside conditions and enrollment numbers.
At a facility committee meeting in September 2012, Murley presented an administration plan called “One community, One district, One plan” that outlined steps for purchase of multiple tracts of land for future building sites, possibly up to three new elementary schools, some additions to existing schools, and funding a plan for a new high school. The school district is also working to update air conditioning, ADA accessibility, electrical and lighting, and building envelope maintenance throughout the district’s 25 schools.
There are over 40 temporary buildings (also called modular classrooms) in use at 13 of 25 ICCSD schools.
Duane Van Hemert was named ICCSD’s new physical plant director. Van Hemert was the director of facility management for the Des Moines Public Schools.
Find out more about ICCSD’s revenue purpose statement, including a schedule of meetings and events, at their website: www.iowacityschools.org.