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K-12 Education

Linn-Mar scraps facilities plan, still aiming for September bond

School district trying to address capacity concerns as enrollment grows

The Linn-Mar Community School District’s updated logo.
The Linn-Mar Community School District’s updated logo.

MARION — Linn-Mar Community School District officials are scrapping a plan that would have redistributed grade levels among the district’s schools.

The plan would have removed ninth-graders from Linn-Mar High School and turned Excelsior Middle School into a building for eighth- and ninth-graders.

It also would have moved grades five through seven to Oak Ridge Middle School and slated the district’s three historic elementary schools — Wilkins, Indian Creek and Bowman Woods — for renovations.

The Linn-Mar school board approved the grade restructuring plan, which was meant to stave off overcrowding as the district’s enrollment grows, in October.

But since then, district spokesman Matthew May said, it’s become clear the plan isn’t financially viable.

“Other than some sort of renovations and updates to the historic buildings, I think everything is back on the table and open for discussion,” May said.

While the district is ditching the facilities plan, administrators still hope to have a proposal put to voters Sept. 12. Linn-Mar voters will be asked to approve a school bond between $50 million and $75 million.

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“We’re still planning to address capacity,” May said, noting enrollment in Linn-Mar has increased by nearly 2,000 students in the last decade. “But we’re not sure how anymore.”

It’s unlikely the plan to convert Excelsior Middle School from a grade six through eight school to one for grades eight and nine will be revived, he said.

Unknown at this time, May said, is the rest of the plan — including what a second middle school might look like and whether the district’s elementary schools will maintain their K-5 or preK-5 grade configuration.

District officials plan to continue working with OPN Architects on the project.

“We are really pausing to take a look at every bit of information that we’ve gathered and collected to date to determine what’s the right path for the district to move forward on,” May said. “What that path looks like — I’m not sure.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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