FM school district hires architects for next bond attempt


FORT MADISON – A second firm has been contracted to work with Fort Madison school officials on an upcoming bond referendum to build a new K-3 elementary school.

On Thursday, Fort Madison Community School District Superintendent Erin Slater said CMBA Architect Group, an Iowa firm based in Sioux City, has been contracted at a cost of 6 percent of the project cost to assist in preparing the community for a possible upcoming referendum. The district used a $22 million project cost estimate in soliciting bids for construction management firms back in October and hired Carl A. Nelson & Company out of Burlington over Baxter Construction of Fort Madison.

Carl A. Nelson estimated fees on a $22 million project at about $2.134 million including a half percent pre-bonding fee, or $110,000, which they would waive if the bond failed. At 6% of an estimated $22 million project, CBMA would be paid $1.3 million for architectural and community engagement services. Together the district would pay an estimated $3.14 million in service fees to the two firms for the project.

Slater said Carl A. Nelson & Co. will work hand-in-hand with the CBMA over the next few months on community engagement processes.

“The way we did the first round, we just had an architect, but when we got feedback from the community, the recommendation was to bring in a construction management company that is an expert in dealing with architects, schematics, and designs,” Slater said.

“So the district’s plan was to add a construction management firm to the team and then hire a new architect. Carl A. Nelson & Company and CMBA will collaboratively work on the community engagement process.”

According to a release from the district on Thursday, CMBA competed against two other Iowa architect groups and was selected based on criteria including history with K-12 projects and pre-bond experience. The district indicated that CMBA has been involved in these types of projects in Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Also part of the process over the next several months will be to determine the elementary facility needs for current and future teaching and learning spaces for students, families, and community.

“The board is excited to continue engaging the community on these important decisions. The district will announce community engagement meetings via the district’s Facebook page and district website,” Slater wrote.

Anyone interested in getting notifications of upcoming community meetings can email Rachel Goldstick, the district’s marketing officer at

“We wanted to update everyone on where we’re at in the process,” Slater said Thursday.

She said conference calls have already been conducted with the firms and the district and plans are underway to start some processes with teachers next week and then set some community forums.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: