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ICCSD hires firm to design new North Liberty elementary school

THE ISSUE
While North Liberty’s population continues to boom, area elementary schools become more crowded. According to a 2015 special census, which put 10.5 percent of the city’s populace under the age of five, a potential 2,000 kids could be approaching elementary in the coming years.

WHAT WE KNEW
In July 2016, the Iowa City School Board unanimously approved the $1.4 million purchase of 21.59 acres on the northeast side of North Liberty near South Slope.

The purchase was tentatively set to replace the planned Grant Elementary.

WHAT HAPPENED
At its May 23 meeting, the Iowa City School Board approved the hire of West Des Moines design firm FRK Architects for a fee of $891,480.

Three other firms were interviewed, including Neumann Monson Architects of Iowa City.

NEXT STEPS
A $191.5 million general obligation bond must be passed by voters Sept. 12 in order for the new elementary school in North Liberty to be fully funded.

The school is estimated to cost $18.9 million. As of now, the school does not have a formal name but is slated to be opened in August 2019.

WHAT WAS SAID
“It was an interesting process. We went with a new firm that has not worked in the district … It’s time to bring in a fresh look, a new perspective.”
– Duane VanHemert, ICCSD Director of Facilities

Assistant Superintendent Amy Kortmeyer said a committee will be organized after the September bond vote to decide upon a name for the elementary school.

Board member Phil Hemingway voted against the hiring of FRK, while all other board members were in favor.