A $23 million expenditure for a new pool and auditorium at Central High School was unamiously approved Monday night by the Davenport Community School Board.

The board was split, however, on extras that would tack on more than $3.8 million to the original budget.

After a discussion that lasted about two hours, board members ultimately approved the extra items recommended by a committee made up of architects, district and school staff and teachers.

The district plans to seek bids on the project between March and May and is slated to break ground by May 5.

The project will be funded by local sales tax money.

Central's auditorium and pool are decades old and no longer fit the needs of staff and students.

Much of Monday's board discussion centered around a recommendation to build a 25-yard, eight-lane stretch pool that will include a warm-up/cool-down area for competitive swimmers.

The addition of the warm-up/cool-down area, estimated to cost nearly $1.181 million, was first introduced at a committee-of-the-whole meeting earlier this month.

Board member Nikki DeFauw and board president Ralph Johanson voted no on the recommendation.

Johanson said he could not justify spending such a large sum of money on the additional area that will be used by only a small, select population within the district. 

 He also said he could not find any research or any rules from the Iowa High School Athletic Association that says that a warm-up/cool-down area is neccessary for competitive swimmers.

"I think that if this project had been represented as something that's usable for all students, not really just for competitive swimmers ... I'd be more likely to support that," he said.

Board members Bill Sherwood, Rich Clewell, Patt Zamora and Ken Krumwiede threw their support behind the entire package.

Clewell noted that this is the biggest investment made at any school in the Davenport district since lawmakers passed legislation that would provide local sales tax money for facilities.

Central, he said, is the "poster child for local sales tax."

"(Central) is a school that needs it and I think this is an investment in our future," he said.

Board member Larry Roberson, who ultimately voted in favor of the addition, said he was disappointed that the initial package of the pool didn't include a warm-up/cool-down area and that the project exceeded the $23 million budget.

Central principal Scott McKissick said the pool and auditorium are a "long-time coming" and will give the high school a competitive edge.

"I think it's a great opportunity for the kids," he said. "I can't imagine them not being excited."

The board also approved bumping up auditorium seating from 800 to 900 for $283,313 and replacing the tennis courts and adding more parking at the Brady Street Complex for $900,000.

Also Monday, the board approved the compensation packages for non-bargaining administrative and non-administrative employees.

The board also approved plans for a sprinkler system project at Lincoln Elementary School at an estimated cost of $240,000. The district rents out space in the now-closed school to Head Start and other organizations.

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(5) comments

Logos
Logos

First, a sound education does not consist of excellent classroom instruction alone. Education is an experience, an event in which children participate physically, emotionally, and socially each and every day. The quality of school facilities is an important contributing element to their participation. There is ample research linking student achievement, behavior, and staff morale to the quality of school facilities (http://www.ia-sb.org/SchoolFacilities.aspx?id=562). Furthermore, our community must bear in mind that CHS opened its doors in 1907. The renovations that have been made over the years make this landmark Iowa school a treasure worthy of investment. These additions build upon that legacy and more important will create a more enriching learning environment.

npierce
npierce

People don't understand how small Central's pool is. And not just the high school uses the pool. There is the age group team Metro that uses it almost all year round. We need this pool since we got kicked out of West when the YMCA paired up with West. Do u really want to know how much Metro paid for some of the equipment that is being used at West by the YMCA now that Metro doesn't really get to practice there anymore. Being a swimmer myself as a kid, makes me sad to see people complaining about a bigger pool and seeing less room for a team that is to big for Central but is not important enough to get to use West or North because they YMCA charges us so much.

iowahawk

Remember that the 23 million is for the auditorium as well as the pool. I don't kbow anything about construction but I do know the current facilities for central do not meet student needs. The students cannot use the pool for PE class and swim meets are probably extrememly crowded. Central's bands, choirs, and orchestras cannot use the auditorium at all for their concerts because they can't even fit on the stage. The musicals and plays are often not heard well due to a poor sound system. While it seems like 23 million is excessive remember that it is covering two large projects that both require a lot of expensive technology and work.

writingmomma

To cut needed programs from schools, force young children to walk (after busing cuts), to build a $23,000,000.00 pool is outrageous to say the least!! Our country is in really big trouble. We have people running things that don't know the first thing about BUDGETING and a troubled ECONOMY!!! This goes from City Elites, State, Federal AND local government officials. From trying to buy a river boat, that we don't need, to forcing 5-6 year olds to walk home after school, because they can't afford to bus them any longer. Lord help this country!

Family man

I am not in the construction business, so I am not claiming to know, but $23,000,000 seems excessive. I have seen lifestyles of the rich and famous or MTV cribs and have seen $20,000,000 homes with swimming pools bigger than central will have, hot tubs, 10 car garages, big mansions etc.... Plus these properties are on prime California real estate. It just seems to me that this price tag is highly inflated.

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