Cedar Rapids school board discusses secondary schools facilities master plan, bond vote

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Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:44 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As the Cedar Rapids School Board considers their facilities master plan for secondary schools, they’re now considering pushing a general obligation bond vote.

The board met Monday night for their regularly scheduled meeting. OPN Architects presented the board with an update on plans for the six middle schools and four high schools in the district.

OPN Architects told board members their discussions have included whether to build new middle and high schools, have buildings undergo major renovations, or whether specific upgrades are needed. They said as the 10 schools stand as of right now, recommended construction would total more than $323 million dollars. Work would include things like upgrades, making buildings ADA compliant, as well as addressing capacity and deficiency issues, and more.

OPN went on to say “six middle schools is not sustainable for the district.” They said data they’ve collected through various discussions has them looking at going from six to four middle schools in the district, saying three schools would lead to accessibility issues.

OPN also said they’ve looked at whether new middle schools should allow for 900 to 1,200 students at a time.

Another cost saving consideration from OPN Architects is whether the district should invest in one, shared pool facility. Right now the high schools have their own pools of which OPN says each needs work.

The district has mentioned before they’re considering a general obligation bond to help cover the costs of the secondary schools facilities master plan. The district had previously discussed holding it in September of this year. But on Monday night, OPN Architects say it would be better for the district to push that potential vote to March of 2023. That way, the district would be able to get a more full recommendation put together. And OPN says if a vote were to fail, the district would be able to put together another vote later that year.

OPN Architects and the district plan to hold town hall meetings in the future regarding secondary schools, but have not set any dates at this point in time. The goal is to present final recommendations to the school board this fall.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said OPN Architects presented the board with an update on plans for six middle schools and 10 high schools in the district. The number is four high schools and six middle schools, totaling ten buildings.

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