By Cindy Hadish
CEDAR RAPIDS – Even as progress is made in upgrading school buildings in the Cedar Rapids School District, a new proposal is working its way forward.
In the coming months, the School Board will consider the district’s facilities plan, which could include constructing 13 new elementary schools, at a cost of up to $260 million.
During public input sessions over the past year, consultants presented the three options available under this plan:
Option 1: Build 13 new elementary schools, each with a 600-student capacity.
Option 2: Build 13 new elementary schools, three with a 450-student capacity and 10 with a 600-student capacity.
Option 3: Build 13 new elementary schools, four with a 450-student capacity and nine with a 600-student capacity.
No options were offered to use the current schools, though representatives at the meetings said consideration would be given to keep the newest school buildings.
This raises several concerns.
Not only do our older buildings have character that cannot be duplicated, the schools were built to last, so a question arises as to how much “savings” will be realized in constructing new schools.
But Save CR Heritage, which is dedicated to raising awareness of the value of historic properties, sees this as more than a preservation issue.
This is about our neighborhoods.
Taking away these smaller schools, many of which are in core neighborhoods where affordable housing exists, will lead to deterioration of those areas and destroy the fabric of our neighborhoods.
Donate here to help Save CR Heritage continue its mission. Any amount is vital for our work in advocating for and raising awareness of at-risk historical properties. Thank you!
Generations of families have learned and thrived in these buildings and with proper care, the schools can continue to serve future generations.
Read the history of Harrison Elementary School here.
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Educational Leadership & Support Center, 2500 Edgewood Rd. NW.
Members of the public who wish to speak must sign in before the meeting, and have a 5-minute limit in which to address the board.
Feel free to share your favorite memory of your neighborhood Cedar Rapids school in a comment below, or on the Save CR Heritage Facebook page.
Find the history of the district’s 31 school buildings here.