The Ottumwa Courier

May 25, 2013

Building toward the future

By MARK NEWMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — If you’re planning to come to the Ottumwa school board meeting, remember that it’ll be on Tuesday because of the holiday.

Everything else is the same. It will be held at 6 p.m. in the board office, 422 McCarroll Drive. Nearly all of the business, however, will be done in closed session.

Ottumwa Superintendent Davis Eidahl will receive his annual evaluation by the school board.

But the biggest discussion will be during the closed session about the purchase of real estate. State law allows public entities to go into closed session because otherwise, they’re at a disadvantage. Sellers of specific property could either boost prices or refuse to negotiate because they know the amount of money that can be brought to bear. That’s not good for the school or taxpayers footing the bill.

So is part of this closed session going to discuss buying the land to build a north-side school?

“Yes,” said Eidahl, “it is. That’s part of our 2020 plan. That consists of facilities, technology and academic opportunities for students. Where do we want to be in 2020? “

When it comes to buildings, the district is already moving forward, he said.

“With the facilities, we’ve got a beautiful new building opening in 2013, Douma will be essentially new in 2014,” said Eidahl. “We really feel we have the right formula on the south side. We are looking at mirroring the concept [on the north side].”

To see reporter Mark Newman’s Twitter feed, go to @couriermark.