The proposed site for a new elementary school on the corner of 36th and State Street in Ankeny has no infrastructure in place and little housing nearby.
If Ankeny voters pass a $15.9 million dollar referendum, it could become the site of the city’s 10th elementary school.
“We’re seeing a lot of enrollment pressure at the elementary and need to open a new building for that purpose,” said Jarrett Peterson, Coordinator of Communications and Marketing for the Ankeny Community School District.
The Ankeny Community School District added 422 students in 2012 to become the 8th largest district in the state.
Opponents of the referendum say they agree the city needs a new school, but want to see it built somewhere else.
“Some other alternate locations that our district already owns like Woodland Reserve already have infrastructure in place,” said Sarah Ruba, an Ankeny parent.
A potential spot within Woodland Reserve would be close to housing.
District officials even agree the site would save money on transporting kids to school.
“It’s true. At first we would have to bus some kids to school,” said Peterson.
Like the district, the city of Ankeny is growing.
“The majority of growth we’re seeing is north and west,” said Eric Jensen, the Director of Planning and Development for the City of Ankeny.
When new schools have popped up in Ankeny, housing and infrastructure have followed.
“Ashland Ridge and Prairie Trail didn’t have a ton of infrastructure when they were built,” said Peterson.
To save money on the project, the school district has even struck a deal with the city trading 70 acres of school district property for $2.6 million dollars in infrastructure.
Some say the swap isn’t necessary.
“We already have a location with families living there and there are homes all around,” Ruba told Channel 13 News.
This debate will be solved at the polls Tuesday with the future of education and growth in Ankeny on the line.
If approved, the new school would open August 2014.
If the referendum fails, the district can put it to another vote this fall, but that would delay the opening until the 2015 school year.
Information on where to cast your ballot is available on the school district’s website.