OTTUMWA — JBS is donating about $3.7 million to the Ottumwa area, with a significant slice coming to the Ottumwa School District.

Board members heard an update from plant officials, who outlined a $250,000 donation to the school district as part of a nationwide program by the company to give back to the communities it serves.

Zenna Boyd, the human resources director at JBS USA, presented to the board on Monday.

Among projects funded by the donation will be upgrades to the media center, auditoriums and gymnasiums, as well as band uniforms.

The board on Monday approved the $61,814.90 purchase of band uniforms.

Outside of the school district, donations from the JBS program will also go toward a revolving housing found, building three apartment buildings on the north side of town, investing in the proposed sporting complex with the city and county, and $10,000 to the Ottumwa Little League.

Construction program will build a home

Juniors and seniors at Ottumwa High School will be able to help build a home in Ottumwa this year in partnership with Indian Hills Community College.

A similar program has been in place for several years in Centerville. Students in the program can earn 18 college credits a year. The goal is to build one home per year.

The hope is to have between 10 and 20 students.

Funding will come through a partnership with Rippling Waters Property Development in Ottumwa, as well as pursuing a potential grant to hopefully extend the program into a yearly program going forward.

Subcontractors will be used for the larger concrete and utilities work, and potentially the roof.

The home will be built on a school-owned lot north of Liberty Elementary School.

In other action:

— The Ottumwa Community School District School Board approved a 2.7% wage increase on Monday for the group of employees. Support staff are non-certified employees.

— The board approved Moline, Illinois-based Legat Architects to design a roughly $4 million indoor athletics complex to be constructed adjacent to Evans Middle School. A meeting with all coaches, teachers and administrations is set up for June 2 to begin visioning for the building. Groundbreaking is hoped for the spring of 2022.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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