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GCSD planning renovations at Northeast Elementary

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    The Glenwood Community School district is planning renovations to Northeast Elementary School.
    The district opened bid letting earlier this month to make changes required by state fire officials in the school’s “open pod” areas between classrooms. The renovation will involve building partitions in these areas leading into classrooms so they may still be utilized by teachers and students and conform with state fire codes.
    Glenwood Superintendent Devin Embray said the district has known for over a year the changes needed to be made.
    “We were told (by the state fire marshal’s office) that if we wanted to continue to utilize the space in those open pod areas we would have to enclose those areas,” Embray said. “It’s kind of essential to instruction to use that space so we have to enclose it.”
    Embray said the district plans to open bids June 29 at a public hearing with the board voting that night to proceed with construction. He expects the project to be done by the start of the school year.
    “We want to award the contract to start July 1,” Embray said. “If we can’t get the whole thing done, depending on time and money, we may split the project over two years with half done this year and the other half done next year.”
    The district received a $100,000 Fire, Life and Safety grant from Senator Tom Harkin’s office to apply to the project. Embray said, however, recent design and spec estimates put the renovation price tag at just over $200,000.
    “We tried to make the project aesthetically pleasing to the architecture of the building and the functionality of the building and by doing that it’s driving costs up,” Embray said. “We’re trying to get the project down (to a more affordable price).”
    Embray would like to see a final cost in the $150,000 range.
    The district’s funding gap would be covered by its State Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) Fund.