Groundbreaking for Wapsie Valley Schools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Groundbreaking for Wapsie Valley Schools

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READLYN (KWWL) -

After several years of failed bond referendums, construction is about to start on two new schools in the Wapsie Valley School District.

Friday night, district officials broke ground on a new elementary school in Readlyn.

The new school will be built next to the existing school near the city park.

It will be one of two elementary schools being built in the district.

The district's elementary school in Fairbank will also get a new building after a controversial school referendum passed last December.

The same referendum failed earlier that year.

Voter turnout was 60%.

The referendum allowed the district to increase property taxes to pay for bonds to build the new schools.

Parents, school officials and others are glad to see the work start.

The shovels were out in Readlyn as school board members, advocates, parents and others broke ground on the district's newest school building.

Wapsie Valley Schools - Readlyn Elementary will go from a building with three floors to a building with one level..

"When we go to one level, it lends itself more to the collaborative nature we need in the teaching profession and also transitions from one area to the next will be more efficient," said Superintendent Chad Garber.

The kids started the dirtwork but the stakes are in the ground.

Construction crews will be in Readlyn starting next week.

School officials are holding the groundbreakings on the two days the towns hold their annual celebrations. In Readlyn, it's Grump Days. In Fairbank next weekend, it's Fairbank Days. It's all a way, school officials say, to get people more involved with their local schools.

For volunteers who worked to pass the referendum, it's a special day.

It took 3 years and some serious debate before voters approved.

"I can't describe the feeling to know the 3 year process the people and the school district and all the work it took. It's an exciting time. Everybody has a smile on their face," said parent Chad Van Daele.

The new buildings will allow the schools to offer Pre-Kindergarten.

The buildings are expected to open in the fall of 2010.

The old buildings will then be demolished.

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Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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