Waterloo district considering options for old buildings - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo district considering options for old buildings

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- Several schools that once educated thousands of students in the Waterloo School District will soon be up for sale or torn down.  Currently, the old Irving School and Devonshire School sit empty.  When Waterloo's newest elementary building opens next school year, Edison school will be ready for sale or the wrecking ball.  And plans are in place to either tear down or sell both Logan Middle School and Expo High.

The district has been holding onto its old properties, in part, to provide space for transitioning into new spaces.  There have been times where students had to use old schools until building remodeling or construction of new schools could be completed.  And now, the district's ready to unload its old, unused buildings and some of its property. 

Students filed out of Black Hawk Elementary for the last time in June.  Soon, the area will be home to a new school building with classrooms for former Black Hawk and Edison students.  It will be the latest addition to a line of new schools built by the district since passing a one cent local option sales tax.  But many of the old properties sit untouched.

"A number of these buildings have been replaced, in some cases a building has been torn down, like old Lincoln for example.  Others are vacant fields, like Williston field and Hawthorne field.  So these are properties that we hope others will have a use for that the district no longer has a use for," said Sharon Miller, spokesperson for Waterloo Community Schools.

So the district's now looking at either tearing down the buildings or putting up for sale signs.

At Monday night's meeting, there were some concerns from neighbors who live near some of the old school buildings, like around the former Irving School.  They were worried that the district might just sell the facilities to the highest bidder with no concerns about how the sites might be developed in the future.  

"It's not fair to dump off the buildings to buyers who have no intention of maintaining them.  Yes, it is expensive to tear down the old buildings.  But the damage done to our city far exceeds the cost," one neighbor said.

But the district says it has every intention to find new owners that will help improve neighborhoods.  There's even a chance that the properties could be offered to local non-profit organizations.  But before anything happens, the future of the properties will be discussed through a public hearing process next month.

Those public hearings are set for the next school board meeting on October 11.  At that time, there may be some additional concerns from people who occupy five homes along Sager near the new elementary school on the old Black Hawk site.  The district currently owns those homes, but is considering selling or moving them, while keeping the land they sit on.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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