The Ottumwa Courier

January 26, 2013

Excitement is building during school construction

New school on schedule; Douma to be renovated

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — The reorganization of school attendance centers on Ottumwa’s south side will require more than a state-of-the-art new building. To close every school there and move the kids into a better facility will also require a building for kindergarten and first-grade students.

The school board will vote on the architectural design development of Douma Elementary School on Monday during their regular meeting. That’s the building in best shape, the district says, and will serve as the K-1 school.

Up the road from Douma is the district’s first new school in nearly 40 years.

The board has already scheduled the closing of Wildwood, Pickwick, Agassiz and Douma as kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary schools. So while Douma will eventually be “open,” it won’t be as it’s currently being utilized.

“We will close Douma  when school ends this coming June,” said Davis Eidahl, superintendent of Ottumwa schools. “Teachers will pack, and we will move that building out. Then we will spend one school year renovating that, and will open that back up August, 2014 for those K-1 students.”

“The outside is in good shape,” the school board heard during one of their meetings from John Donner, the business manager for the Ottumwa school district. “The structure is sound, the brick is in good shape, the roof is in good shape.”

“Our work will be done inside,” Eidahl said. “We will be replacing floors, partitions, ceilings, mechanicals, the kitchen, [do some] reconfiguring for [compliance with] the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The new building will cost around $13.3 million. Completely gutting and rebuilding Douma is expected to cost. $4.8 million.  

“It will be a new building inside,” Eidahl said.

The decision to have a separate building for the youngest children means that all south-side kids will eventually be able to attend the brand new elementary school.

That just built school, at nearly 100,000 square feet, will house 750 students.

“We’ll open the new school for grades two through five in August,” Eidahl said. “We’re very excited. According to our last construction meeting, we’re right at the pace we need to be in order to open that up in August for teachers and students.”