FM school board gets update on facility ‘pre-design’

BY ELIZABETH MEYER
Special to Pen City Current

FORT MADISON — The Fort Madison school board on Monday got an update from DLR Group on Phase 1 of the project to expand the middle and high school buildings as the district moves toward its completion date of August 2023.

The Des Moines-based DLR Group provides architectural services for the project and Burlington’s Carl A. Nelson Co. oversees construction management. Phase 1 includes expanding the high school building to accommodate 7th-12th grade students (the building currently holds grades 9-12) and adding on to the middle school so it houses Pre-K through 6th grade, up from the current 4th-8th grades. Once the project is complete, Lincoln and Richardson elementary schools will no longer be in use.

Monday’s presentation represented the “pre-design” stage of the project. DLR Group will attend the school board’s next regular meeting on Aug. 16 to present the “schematic design.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the pre-design concept.

“This pre-design phase is really to gather as much information as we possibly can and then starting to mold that into what this space is going to be,” said DLR Group’s Nick Hansen, noting he recently spent several hours with the district’s elementary and middle school teachers learning what they would like to see in the new facilities.

“Next board meeting we’ll be presenting our schematic design,” Hansen said. “You’ll be able to see things that are a little bit more, I’ll say, written with a pencil; you can still erase a little bit, but it will start to get more real.”

Phase 1 will be paid for by borrowing SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) funds and utilizing the district’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. Tapping into these existing revenue streams required voter approval but does not require additional taxpayer support.

“In 25 months, we will have kids walking in that door and we’re all going to celebrate,” Hansen said.

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