The Ottumwa Courier

March 23, 2013

School Board to hold work session at Liberty, take tour

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — It’ll be easy for the Ottumwa school board to tour the Liberty Elementary School construction site Monday, since it’s also the site of their board meeting.

“It’s mainly a work session,” said John Donner, who is the business manager for the school district. “[However] this is the final paperwork to issue the bonds ... for the completion of the new school and for the remodeling of Douma that will happen this summer.”

The meeting will be at 6 p.m Monday at the front of the building.

The board is expected to approve the terms for issuing and securing the payment of $8.9 million in school bonds. The bonds end up being paid for by the Iowa infrastructure sales, services and use tax, which is the money added on to sales tax in the state.

Since that’s a one cent tax — and most contractors won’t accept a multi-million dollar job that will be paid a penny at a time — schools borrow against the estimated income from the one-cent sales tax.

After completion of the resolution, the board will be touring the nearly completed Liberty school building.

The newly named “Liberty” school is scheduled for completion, including furnishing, by the time school starts in the fall.

The structure, the first newly built Ottumwa school in 40 years, has come a long way from its beginnings as a farm field.

Liberty school is for students in grades 2-5 on Ottumwa’s south side. It will replace three older school buildings. Kindergarten and first-graders will go to a different attendance center.

Classes will take place mainly in four individual wings. Each wing is a learning community that will belong to a grade — a second-grade wing, a third-grade wing, a fourth-grade wing and a fifth-grade wing.

In the main hall of the building is access to the common rooms, the rooms every grade needs, like the library, art and lunch rooms, for example.

The grounds will include a playground, parking for staff and a bus lane separate from parent traffic.

Around 750 students will attend Liberty.