OTTUMWA — School will be different this year for kids, parents and teachers. And that, said the district chief, is not a bad thing.
"We had an assembly with all district teaching staff Thursday morning," said Superintendent Davis Eidahl later that day. "We asked those who have a new assignment, or who will be in a new building, to please stand. Out of 360 teachers, about 200 stood up."
School doesn't start until Wednesday for Ottumwa children.
"Students will see a lot of changes this year. Whether it's a new school [to attend], new teachers for their school or a new principal, there are a lot of changes this year," Eidahl said.
With the opening of the first new school in the district in 40 years, Liberty School off of Mary Street, second- through fifth-grade students who would have attended a south-side school know they'll be going to the state-of-the-art building. But things will be different for children in that part of town going into kindergarten and first grade.
"This year, students who would have gone to K-1 at Pickwick or Wildwood will all go to Wildwood," Eidahl explained.
"And K-1 students who would have attended Douma or Agassiz will all go to Agassiz."
No students at all this year will end up going to Douma school.
"Douma is closed for one year while we completely renovate the interior," Eidahl said.
Parents, especially those who drive their children to school, will see changes at Evans Middle School.
"There's a plan in place to route traffic by opening traffic to Hamilton. This should reduce congestion and separate bus and vehicle traffic," Eidahl said. "It's a safety decision."
Traffic at Liberty Elementary School will be all new.
"We're confident in the plan we have on paper. Now it's a matter of executing it. We've included our transportation provider, a city official, and that plan will be distributed to parents at our open house. We're also going to try to put it up on our website," the superintendent said.