Lines drawn in debate over Roosevelt Elementary - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lines drawn in debate over Roosevelt Elementary

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - The future of Iowa City's Roosevelt Elementary School is in question.

The school district is trying to decide whether close the aging school and build a new one, or renovate it. But some Roosevelt parents say the plans are moving too fast.

Some people feel the building is too old to serve the educational needs of students, and others feel that a new building in a different location would split up the community.

"We don't want Roosevelt to go," said Denise Miller, who has two students at Roosevelt.

"We don't live far from here, and the kids love to walk to school when it's nice out."

One option is a $5.1 million remodel of the building. If it closes, a new one would be built a few miles to the northwest in the Crossings neighborhood, for $11.5 million.

Miller says that would mean a longer drive for her, and worries that her kids and their friends would be split up. "If it were to be moved, it would be difficult."

However, plaster is chipping from Roosevelt's 78-year old walls, and its student population has outgrown them. Several temporary buildings around the school house some of its students and classes.

That's why Kristie Gurgel wants her newly-enrolled kindergartner in a new facility.

"Educational values change over time," said Gurgel, "and we can provide a new building that offers more resources for the kids."

It's a polarizing issue, one that school board president Toni Cilek will hear plenty of in the coming weeks. "I think our challenge is to stay focused on what's best for the kids in the school district, and trying to look at the big picture," Cilek told us.

Two public forums have been scheduled to discuss the future of Roosevelt Elementary.

One will be held next Monday night at 7 PM at the West High School, and the following Saturday morning at 10 AM at Northwest Junior High.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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