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OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa School Board approves the plans to move forward with the design development of the Schafer Stadium remodel.

During Monday’s meeting Ottumwa High School Principal Mark Hanson and Athletic Director Mike Egbert along with representatives from Klingner & Associates spoke with the board about the proposed changes to the stadium. Hanson said the district should not settle and the students deserve access to updated facilities.

“I want people to walk out of Schafer Stadium and see the pride we have in our facilities,” said Hanson.

At the last board meeting, member Mike Dalbey expressed his concerns about spending money on the Schafer Stadium remodel. He said the money would be better spent fixing up some of the older buildings in the district. Last week, board Vice President Mike Burton also spoke out about the plans. He said he feels the stadium plans are being pushed ahead to quickly and that incoming Superintendent Nicole Kookier will feel tied down to a project she had no say in. He also said he felt the preschool building was more important than the stadium at this point in time.

“If we waited until we had a cost on the preschool we could be waiting even longer than we already have,” said board member Leisa Walker.

The board heard a presentation on possible plans for a new preschool facility. Program Director Karie Martindale, Preschool Project Coordinator Jan Wetrich and FRK Architect Dave Briden have been working together for the past couple of months to put together a design plan.

The district began exploring this option in order to expand the amount of preschoolers in the district. The only 3-year-olds the district works with currently are students with IEP or who are at poverty level.

Wetrich said a number of district and board members met to talk about what they wanted in the facility. Briden is still in the beginning stages of creating a design plan based on the location of the site, as well as the needs and wants expressed during the meetings. However when Burton asked, Briden had no answer as to what the facility could end up costing the district.

Despite the district’s plans to move forward with remodeling Schafer Stadium, board members still plan to move forward with the preschool building in the near future.

To contact reporter Neal Querio email her at and follow her on Twitter @CourierNeal.


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