Liberty elementary

OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa school district will resume its discussion on the future for elementary schools on the city’s north side next week.

Board members delayed a decision on a proposal to construct a new school when they last met, saying they needed additional time to process information and have questions answered. A facilities update on next week’s agenda will return to the issue.

The proposal is similar in some respects to the process that led to construction of Liberty Elementary School and a reshuffling of schools on Ottumwa’s south side. That school opened in 2013.

What has not been announced, and may not yet be planned, is how a new school on the north side would affect the existing schools. Some would likely be consolidated, and some parents and teachers have voiced concerns about the loss of existing neighborhood schools.

None of the schools involved in the discussion is newer than James Elementary, which was built in 1972. The oldest school currently used is Horace Mann, which was built in 1941.

A new school would likely cost in the neighborhood of $20 million, according to the district’s estimates. That’s comparable to the cost of needed repairs and rehabilitation for the current schools.

The district’s facilities committee has endorsed construction of a new elementary school.

The board will also consider a bid for demolition of Ottumwa High School’s chimney, which has long been out of use and is deteriorating. That work is past of the current fiscal year’s budget.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the SparkTank facility at 325 E. Main St.

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Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.