Independence School officials consider building new school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence School officials consider building new school

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -- A new place to call home? That's what Independence superintendent Jean Peterson hopes junior and senior high school students will have soon. Peterson has formed a committee to examine the size, cost and funding of a new junior/senior high school. It's not the first time the district has planned for a new facility. But this time, officials are hoping things will be different.

Thursday was opening night of the "King and I" musical at Independence High School.

"We do not have an auditorium and so this is our auditorium for this evening," said Principal Jennifer Sorenson.

And for the last week in fact, crews have been setting up, tearing down and practicing for opening night in the gymnasium. It's just one of the many facilities in the junior/senior high school that serve multiple purposes.

"Right now we have four teachers that are not in the building, they are in annexes," Sorenson said.

It's why superintendent Jean Peterson and others are looking to build a new school.

"Just kind of, the time is right. We're in need of a new secondary facility. We wanna make sure we have enough community input to make sure that we are making the right decisions," Peterson said.

And if all goes as planned, officials will level the current building and relocate the facility to the same campus as the rest of the school district.

"If we want to stay with what we need to put kids in the right spot in the 21st century than we need to have an upgraded facility," Peterson said.

The proposed plan would build a new school, with an auditorium and a gym. As well as enough classrooms, a larger weight room and better facilities for students and teachers.

"We want to make sure that property taxes are not a real large portion of this project. We have the availability of SILO funds from sales tax, private capital campaign, FEMA grants. And we are hoping to make the portion of property taxes pay for less than 50 percent of the project," committee volunteer Brian Eddy said.

Officials don't have an exact estimate of the cost, or a clear indication of when it will happen. Right now they are simply brainstorming how to make a change.

"We need to bring our facility to what our students and teachers are," Sorenson said.

One of the design goals is to utilize projected enrollment trends to ensure the structure is not too large yet allows for cost-effective expansion.

If the project moves forward. Officials say the current building will be leveled. And the land will be turned into green space.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
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