URBANDALE, Iowa – Residents of Urbandale will vote on a bond referendum that would build two brand new schools in the district and renovate others.
The district currently has six elementary schools. If passed, the bond referendum would shut down Olmsted and Valerius Elementary and rebuild two new schools on the same property.
In addition, two other elementary schools would shut down, so the district would be left with four elementary schools.
Urbandale Community School District Board President Tanya Ruden said the elementary schools are outdated and cost more to maintain.
“In order to provide for the students and the teachers and staff of our district, and to provide them with buildings that have 21st century within them, we kind of need new facilities. One thing that we learned in the remodel of our Karen Acres project is our school buildings are so old. They were built in the 50s and 60s, and there is only so much you can do to remodel a space to make it the best 21st century learning opportunity for students. Building new gives us that opportunity to do it,” Ruden said.
If passed, the $59 million bond referendum would increase property taxes for the average homeowner to about $33.00 a year.
Ruden said people are more concerned where their children will attend school versus the increase in property taxes.
“We are working right now to try and develop those plans within the community and figure out where we will house kids. Kids can learn and do fantastic things no matter their environment. I have whole faith that everything will continue as normal for the time in which they’re displaced from their school,” Ruden said.
Along with two new elementary schools, the bond referendum would also provide funds to build a fitness center at Urbandale High School.
The timeline for construction on each project is listed below:
- Urbandale High School Fitness Center:
- Spring 2019- construction begins
- Fall 2020- fitness center opens
- Elementary School (Olmsted site):
- Summer 2019- construction begins
- Fall 2021- school opens
- Elementary School (Valerius site):
- Summer 2023- construction begins
- Fall 2025- school opens
There is a community forum on January 23rd about the bond referendum at Urbandale High School at 6:30 p.m.
People will vote on the bond referendum February 6th.