Mid-Prairie to seek possible $10.5 million bond issue
WELLMAN — In a special two-hour meeting Monday, the Mid-Prairie Board of Education trimmed its districtwide improvement list to key needs in its five schools and a Central Office/Alternative Learning Center at an estimated cost of $10.5 million. The figure is the approximate amount that will be sought in an April bond referendum.
“It will be through a bond issue,” said Superintendent Mark Schneider. “No other resources will be used.” The other resources include district reserves of more than $2 million which will be retained and used for other district needs, such as student safety issues and other student matters. He also noted that the figure is not a total cost “because there is one thing Shive-Hattery [the district’s architect/engineers] needs to still check on.”
Specifically, the projects for what is Phase I of a large district improvement plan that could include a second middle school gym and high school auditorium follow:
• Middle School HVAC and window replacement, addition for the Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) for classrooms, resources center and offices, additional computer lab and renovation of existing lab for special needs space;
•Washington Township Elementary air conditioning;
•Kalona Elementary addition for a preschool classroom and renovating existing preschool room;
•Wellman Elementary, addition for two kindergarten classrooms and renovating existing kindergarten rooms for special-needs space;
• High school relocation of main office to existing art room and addition for new art room and Family Consumer lab and renovate existing family consumer science lab for special-needs space; and
• new building on high school site for Alternative Learning Center and Central Office administration. The move ends consideration of using the upper level of the Kalona Community Center/City Hall (a former junior high school and original 1914 Kalona High School) for the program. A major concern in the plan to use a Kalona-owned building was that ownership would permit other uses. Board members also had concerns about paying for renovation of a building the district would not own, although the move potentially would have lowered the cost of HSAP facilities by about $1 million.
However, the board agreed it was still very interested in a possible partnership with Kalona that would see the city build a new community center and the district a second gym, both at the middle school site. Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, who attended the meeting, said that a partnership, via a 28E agreement, would potentially save both the district and the city more than $1 million each in construction costs.
Equally important is that the Kalona council “is still on board” with a cooperative venture with the district. In fact, the council reaffirmed its stand during its council meeting Monday.
The above improvements represent a board consensus.