116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Iowa City school board may vote July 9 to buy land for a new Iowa City elementary school and a North Liberty-area high school.
The district also is trying to acquire land for another elementary school and to swap out property it already owns that has been reserved for yet another new building, but Superintendent Stephen Murley said Friday more work remained on those items and getting all four pieces done by Tuesday night's meeting was unlikely.
What he does expect is for the board to take action on land purchases for a southeast Iowa City elementary school and for a high school in the northern part of the district.
“That's the goal,” he said.
The end result is the district could open two new elementary schools in two years and a high school in five years.
The school board will meet in closed session at 5 p.m. to discuss land acquisitions. On the agenda of its 6 p.m. regular meeting is an item to "approve land purchase," with no more information. Murley said that was left vague because it's not yet known what will be ready to be voted on.
District officials have been trying to find sites for new school buildings to relieve overcrowded schools and accommodate future growth.
The district had nearly 12,500 students this past school year, and a consultant has predicted it could add another 3,000 kids in the next decade.
The school board on Tuesday also is to receive recommendations from a committee on a 10-year facilities plan to serve as a guide for construction projects. The committee has forwarded two proposals, both of which call for three new elementary schools and a new high school.
Murley said the school board is not expected to make any decisions on the facilities plan Tuesday. Board members hope to schedule a work session in the coming weeks to discuss the matter in detail, he said.
On the land purchases, Murley said he could not yet disclose the price and exact locations because some of the details are still being settled.
In addition to the high school and southeast Iowa City sites, district officials also are working to get land for an elementary school in eastern Iowa City.
Murley hopes design work can begin on the two elementary schools soon and ground broken next spring. That would allow the schools to open in fall 2015, he said.
The high school work would be much more extensive, he said, and a spring 2015 construction start and fall 2018 open date are more likely.
The timing of when to open a new high school, and what its capacity should be, has been the source of much debate in the district in recent years.
The final piece officials are trying to settle soon is to swap land the district bought years ago for an
elementary school on North Liberty Road between Coralville and North Liberty. As that area develops, the road is expected to see increased traffic, and Murley said district administrators do not want an elementary school on what could become a thoroughfare so they are trying to find another property.