C.F. board members tour Waverly school while mulling new school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

C.F. board members tour Waverly school while mulling new high school

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Cedar Falls School Board members took a field trip to Waverly as part of the process of exploring whether to build a new high school or renovate the current one.

Board members took a tour of Waverly-Shell Rock Middle School to gather ideas.

"A couple of things impressed me. The flexible space that they had and how they're using it. Some places have a little more or little less. The wellness built in. The stools in the classroom are more like exercise balls so they're designed with a wellness emphasis," said board president Deon Senchina.

Waverly-Shell Rock's sparkling new facility stands in stark contrast to Cedar Falls High, which was built in the early 1950s.

Space is at a premium from science labs, which sometimes leak, to art rooms, which don't have a wall to separate them, to the cafeteria, which is in the basement.

Some programs like robotics, swimming and cross country are forced to move off campus due to lack of space.

"Being only 17 acres when a school our size is typically 34 acres, 40 acres, so many programs or experiences are limited because of that so it's something we'd like to correct with a new building. Spending a lot of money and not correcting all your major issues seems penny-wise and pound-foolish," stated Cedar Falls High Principal Rich Powers.

"A decision hasn't been made on a new high school so we'll look at a renovation as well. The bottom line is how do we best serve our students and provide the best education and a new facility does offer some things a renovation will not so we're excited to explore it and we'll see how the process ends," said superintendent Mike Wells.

After the trip to Waverly, board members returned to Cedar Falls - where they toured the high school and got a first-hand look at some of the logistical and physical challenges at that building.

Another work session is set for Wednesday night where board members are expected to talk about what they saw and what it might take to build a new high school in Cedar Falls.

A committee had recommended a plan for a new high school that would cost $73 million.

Board members say they were encouraged to learn the middle school they toured Monday night only cost $22 million.

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