David City Public Schools has not been standing still the past decade when it comes to facility construction.
The new commons area and fitness facility dramatically improved the experience of attending activities at the David City High School. The addition also closed the access to the rest of the school during evening events. Construction is under way on a new wing to provide the David City Elementary with needed space for working with special education students.
These improvements followed the 2012 construction of a secondary gymnasium at the elementary school, which improved physical education classes for K-6 and provided more practice space for the high school, along with much-needed and more secure new office facilities and an art classroom.
The school district has accomplished recent improvements by using its special building fund for the finances. To put it simply, the district has the money in hand before the construction begins.
More changes are likely ahead for the district. The high school building turned 102 years old this year. The district owns the block east of Eight Street, and all but one house has been sold and moved away.
The David City Public Schools Board will be discussing future facility plans at the April 11 meeting.
Superintendent Chad Denker outlined some of the discussion topics. The estimated costs of new facilities are preliminary, he said.
“While the Board has not approved the next phases yet, they have identified some of the top needs within the next five to seven years,” Denker said.
The city has approved additional concrete parking on the north side of D St Between 8th and 9th St - similar design to the south side of the high school. That project will get done this summer. Preliminary cost estimate: $750,000 for acquiring properties, removing unwanted structures, and pouring concrete parking. Moving utilities is still an unknown.
“Eventually, we would like to add concrete parking west of the elementary or north of the high school as well if those properties become available at a reasonable price because that parking would be available for both high school and elementary events,” he said.
High school office on ground floor
The reasons for this change are improved safety and security measures, greater efficiency and having all office staff in one location, plus easier access for parents and community. Preliminary cost estimate: $2 million for offices - including principal, assistant principal, counselor, nurse, two secretaries, social worker/outside agency, superintendent, business manager, transportation director, conference room, board meeting room, storage, faculty restrooms.
“Right now, the main office is on second floor but some office staff are located in multiple places,” Denker said. “It makes it difficult for our secretaries to see who exactly they are letting in the building despite having security cameras installed.”
Performing arts center:
The district has discussed building a space for drama, plays and other stage productions on the east side of the gymnasium. Preliminary cost estimate: $4 million for a 500 seat theater or competition gym alone.
“We have also considered building a new gym and converting the current gym into a theater. At this point, we do not have enough financial or structural information to determine which concept makes more sense,” Denker said. “Because of our limited gym and seating space, we cannot host events such as district wrestling or play basketball cross court and leave the bleachers pulled out.
More would be needed if the board would renovate the current gym into a theater and then build a new gym as one project.
More space would allow the school to host travelling music or theater groups, dance competitions, or other community events that are better suited in a theater-type venue versus a gymnasium, he said.