Allamakee Schools mulling future of Waterville Elementary - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Allamakee Schools mulling future of Waterville Elementary

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The future of Waterville Elementary School in the Allamakee Community School District is uncertain.

School Board members are mulling whether they will keep the school open next year, or close it for good.

Superintendent says declining enrollment and an aging building have made them take a look at the school's future.

Enrollment reached more than 170 back in 1998, but has declined every year since.  Projections show an enrollment of just 52 students next year.

"(The School Board) Felt that they needed to further look into that, and ultimately make a decision whether or not this was the time to close that building. Or if they were going to keep that building open, to come up some kind of plan, maybe 3-5 year plan, to take care of some of the issues with the building," Superintendent Dave Herold said.

Waterville Elementary has been around since 1922, and has many issues an aging building would have.  Herold says they have electrical issues and have had issues with their water supply as well.

He says if the board does decide to keep the school open, they'll have to come up with plans for the roof and boiler, which are both getting to the end of their lives.

"It's a very emotional issue, we understand that. It's one that's sad in many ways," Herold said.

He says it's even tougher because so many people in the community and surrounding areas have strong connections to the school.

Trophies in the case date back to the 1930's and even later.

"All you need to look at is the concerts and other programs that are held at Waterville. Not only do just moms and dads come, but people from all around come, because this is their school," he said.

If the school does close, Herold says all five full-time teachers will have jobs at other schools in the districts. He also said it shouldn't cause any classrooms to get over crowded.

The School Board is holding two work sessions, one tonight and one next week, before they make their final decision Dec. 18.

If the board does decide to close the building, Herold says they'll explore all options for what to do with the school building itself.

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