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Iowa City school board approves design for new high school

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IOWA CITY — The public Tuesday night got its first look at a new high school planned for the Iowa City Community School District.

SVPA Architects Inc. shared its schematic design for Liberty High School, and the school board voted 5-0 to accept it.

“I think this is really an aesthetically pleasing design,” board member Brian Kirschling said.

The 250,000-square-foot, two-floor school will sit on 76 acres at the intersection of Dubuque Street and North Liberty Road in eastern North Liberty.

Construction on the first of three phases is to start next spring and result in the opening of a 1,000-student school in 2017. The construction of athletic facilities is to start in 2018 and then a 500-student addition in 2021.

The design shows the school on the east side of the site, with the athletic facilities to the west.

The building is designed around a commons area that divides the academics side from the activities side, Vitus Bering of SVPA Architects told the school board. The academic wing would include a courtyard and room to expand.

SVPA’s contract is only for the design of the first two phases, which is the 1,000-student building and the athletic facilities.

Phase I estimates are at $44 million but could come down, said Duane Van Hemert, the school district’s physical plant director. Phase II is at $7.5 million, which he said must get closer to $6 million.

The Iowa City school district currently has two comprehensive high schools. Enrollment projections show the district growing by 2,500 more students by 2023 and hitting an enrollment of 16,400.

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