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New Nodaway Valley elementary building possible

Published: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 11:09 a.m. CST

GREENFIELD — Nodaway Valley School Board was presented with the opportunity to build a new elementary building in Greenfield by a steering committee during the board's regularly scheduled meeting Aug. 13.

The school, currently located at 324 N.W. 2nd St. in Greenfield, will likely be located near the current building. Board members, as well as administration, want to avoid having to use portable classrooms by keeping the original building standing during construction of the new one.

Building

Nodaway Valley Elementary School is currently the oldest building in the district, as it was built in the 1950's.

"We've spent most of the last school year looking at a facility study done, and from that it led into the big need being a new elementary," said Dr. Casey Berlau, superintendent of Nodaway Valley and Cumberland, Anita and Massena (CAM) community school districts.

There were plumbing, asbestos and electrical issues, as well as no air conditioning, at the elementary school building.

"In our facility study, we looked at what it would take to resolve those issues," Berlau said. "The price tag gets pretty high because you have to take things up to code when you redo them."

Berlau said the cost to renovate the building would have been slightly less than building a new one, but the building would still be more than 50 years old, so board members decided it would have been more effective to erect a new building.

"While our building isn't falling down or anything like that, the condition of our current building is what led to this," Berlau said.

Discussions were had about grade configuration. Currently, fifth-grade students are in the middle school building in Fontanelle, which is designed to hold only three grades. "That's kind of why we're looking at pre-k through fifth (grades at the elementary), to get back to three grades (at the middle school)," Berlau said.

Nodaway Valley Community Schools, a combination of Greenfield and Bridgewater-Fontanelle community school districts, was consolidated in 2000.

Options

A District Advisory Committee recommended building a new elementary school, which would include a practice gym that will double as a multi-purpose room for preschool through fifth grade.

Other options discussed by the steering committee were: • renovating the current elementary school building, • building a small addition for seventh- and eighth-grade students, • building a smaller elementary building and putting fourth- through sixth-grade students at the middle school in Fontanelle, • adding a gymnasium that doubles as a multi-purpose room onto the current elementary building, and • adding a middle school attached to the high school with preschool through third grade in a new building. "I think, in the end, they (board members) evaluated all those things," Berlau said. "Some things are more expensive than others, of course, so cost was part of that. And, I think comfort level. It would be kind of similar to our current arrangement."

Procedure

The next step in the process for building a new elementary school is to set a bond election. It was suggested the election be Dec. 2.

"I can't really say how likely it is because the next step would be how to fund the project," Berlau said. "The next step is the board looking into how they would fund that, meaning, do they want to run a bond election." Berlau said it will be up to the voters to decide if a bond election will happen.

For the project to come before voters, 25 percent of voters in the last school officials election need to sign a petition for the project.

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