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Playground planning



The Iowa Valley Elementary Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is well on its way replacing the remaining wooden playground equipment at the elementary school.

IV PTO member Janet Grafft met with the Iowa Valley School Board Jan. 25 to give an update on the project.

In 2008, the IV PTO, with the help of many volunteers, built a new playground for the preschool students at the cost of $25,000. Prior to that, there was no equipment for the preschool kids.

This summer, the PTO will tear down the existing wooden structure and install new playground equipment at the cost of approximately $100,000.

“I went out there yesterday and there were broken picnic benches, and you look at the wood, and it is all splintered and the beams have great big cracks,” Grafft said.

She said the wood equipment needs to be treated every year. Last year, Grafft said the PTO tried to organize a day to treat the playground equipment, and five people showed up, all PTO members.

The wooden playground equipment was built in 1990, with great community effort, and the life expectancy for wooden playground equipment is 20 to 25 years, Grafft said.

The new playground equipment will be similar to the new preschool equipment, and the playground equipment built at Marengo City Park, she said. Boland Recreation, Cedar Rapids, is designing the new playground equipment. Boland will provide a con¬sultant during construction, but commu¬nity volunteers will be needed to do the actual construction of the equipment.

The equipment will be handicapped accessible, and there will be a section the gym teacher will be able to use for physical fitness.

Wood fiber mulch will be used on the ground, and a percentage of the material will be recycled material, Grafft said.

IV Superintendent Alan Jensen said the school board has set aside $25,000 over the last three years from the one-cent local option sales tax for a total of $75,000 to go toward the project. Of the total, $10,000 has already been used for the preschool playground equipment, leaving $65,000 for the new equipment to be installed this summer.

Grafft said the PTO has raised $12,500 for the project, bringing the total amount raised to $77,500.

She said the PTO will hold fundraisers and apply for grants to raise the remaining $22,500. A movie night will be held Friday, March 19. The Marengo Lion’s Club will serve a taco bar, and the movie will be “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

If the PTO does not raise the entire amount, Grafft said a couple pieces of the playground equipment will not be built.

“I am pretty optimistic we will reach the $100,000. We are just planning in case we don’t,” she said.

Grafft said the PTO plans to tear down the existing wooden structure in June or July, and the tentatively plan to build the new structure the first weekend of August.


The Iowa Valley School Board elected to have superintendent Jensen talk with architects with OPN Architects about making some changes to a proposed design contract for the high school auditorium renovation project.

OPN Architects will perform an initial schematic design study and then a formal architect/owner agreement for final construction documents of the auditorium project.

The scope of the project includes new house lighting, restoring and repainting all plaster, removing the orchestra pit, build a new sound booth, add a cooling system and add ductwork and possibly remodel the dressing room. The Iowa Valley Foundation Board is raising money to replace all of the seating.

The estimated cost for just the interior work is $415,000, not including the cost for stage lighting, the sound system, seating or the expansion of the control room.

The proposal from OPN said the schematic design study could be completed by Feb. 19. OPN’s fee for the schematic design is lump sum of $9,750.

Its proposed fee for the construction documents will be 8.75 percent of the final estimate as submitted in the schematic design study.

IV School Board member Mark Swift said the fees seem high. He noted OPN would receive a fee of 8.75 percent of the schematic design, despite what the actual final bid. He said the board may decide to take out items that are included in the schematic design.

School Board member Dennis Roberts asked Jensen to see if they could change the contract to read that the school will pay the schematic design fee of $9,750, and will pay 8.75 percent of the accepted bid price for the final construction documents. Then once the project is approved, the $9,750 is taken out of the fee for the final construction documents.

Jensen said he will approach OPN Architects with this proposal and report to the board at the next meeting.

Jensen said, if approved, the auditorium project will be let for bids in late April and the bid will be awarded in early May. The project may be completed by September or October, he said.


So far this winter Iowa Valley has had six days of school cancelled due to snow, said Jensen. As of now, the last day of school will be Tuesday, June 8, he said. He noted that last year the IV School Board voted to not use spring break to make up snow days. March 22-24 are still open for spring break.

If the school has any more snow days, Jensen wanted to know the school board’s thoughts on using spring break as make-up days.

Board president Jane Fry said it is late in the year to change the school board’s policy and to make parents change spring break plans.


The Iowa Valley School Board voted Jan. 25 to hold the 2010 graduation ceremony outside at the athletic field complex. Graduation is Sunday, May 23, at 2:30 p.m. The high school gym will be available as a back up in case of incremental weather.


Jensen said not action has been taken in regards to the request from the Twin Cedars School District to join the SICL Conference. In light of the Twin Cedars request, Jensen said Lone Tree, Highland and Pekin have all contacted SICL officials about joining the conference. Discussions are ongoing, he said.

Boland Recreation, Cedar Rapids, designed a new playground to be built at the Iowa Valley Elementary School this summer. The missing pieces include an XWave and a gyro. The Iowa Valley Parent Teacher Organization is fundraising for the project.

UPDATED February 3, 2010 11:06 AM

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