Planning group says Keokuk should close Wells-Carey

Updated 7:30PM 9/15

The Keokuk Community School District has big plans for the future.

An architectural company created a facilities improvement plan for all buildings in the district.

That plan includes three projects.

The first is what needs to be done as soon as possible.

The second is a series of smaller upgrades and renovations.

The third is a wish list.

KHQA's Jarod Wells talked to the district's superintendent about changes you can expect.

Superintendent Dr. Lora Wolff said, "We decided we have to have someone external come in and look at all of our facilities. From athletics, to fine arts, all our buildings and give us a guideline of what we need to do over the next 5-7 years."

8 of the 12 tasks on project one are at the highschool.

Wolff said, "We need window replacements in the A wing and then throughout the building. Repairing the electrical, getting the building ready for geothermal if that's what we go with and that seems like the most economical way to get the building air-conditioned."

The plan also has several other renovations for industrial technology, band and vocal room and the Wright Field House. But the biggest task in project one is an exit strategy to close Wells-Carey Elementary School. It is the oldest school still being used by the Keokuk Community School District, built in 1924.

Wolff said, "When we did a study on how much it would cost to renovate it, it was in the $5 million to $6 million range."

Four or five classrooms would be added to Hawthorne Elementary to accommodate all elementary students. The cost of project one of the plan prepared by SVPA Architects is 14.7 million dollars.

Wolff said, "And our funding stream for this is the half cent sales tax. So we're not going to have to raise property taxes to do any of the work which is the exciting part of this."

Some small work on project would could begin as early as the end of next month.

Scroll down to find the entire report from SVPA Architects.

Superintendent Doctor Lora Wolff says the district's goal is eventually getting down to two elementary schools to save on costs and energy.

She says the district plans to apply for grants to help with the costs.

Wolff says if funding comes available for tasks on projects two and three while project one is still underway, those tasks could be moved up.

The district hopes ALL tasks on ALL three projects will eventually be completed.


Original story - 10:15AM 9/15

SVPA Architects told the Keokuk School Board the Wells-Carey Elementary School building will start costing major money very soon.

If the district follows the advice of SVPA, that building could be closed by Spring 2012, but the plan does not call for selling or demolishing Wells-Carey or Torrence Elementary (which closed last spring).

Those buildings would be swing schools to hold students while other schools are under construction.

The plan also suggests building a $1.2 million addition of five classrooms to Hawthrone Elementary and converting it to a preK - 3 building. George Washing would house 4th and 5th grades.

Check out the full article in the Daily Gate City to read more about SVPA's plan for the district.

Click here to take a look at the official Keokuk Facilities Plan PDF document.