Middle school plans face unexpected hurdle

CHARLES CITY, Iowa – What seemed like a glimmer of hope to save one historic school building, is now falling through.

For the past few months, we’ve been following the story about what will be done with the old middle school in Charles City and now we’re learning, interest from the Iowa State University is not going according to plan.

“I don’t think there’s any letdown or discouragement from this at all,” said Jason Walker, building advocate.

It’s a statement that’s almost hard to believe but for concerned parent and building advocate Jason Walker, their recent hurdle to re-purpose their middle school is not one they expected.

“Part of this process is that we identify any and all potential occupants or uses of the building through that process got to identify that the definite yes’, the maybe’s and the no’s,” said Walker.

Earlier this month, Iowa State University representatives expressed their interest in occupying the building for their design program.

Although they may not have a sale on their hands quite yet, Charles City Superintendent Dr. Dan Cox says he’s confident.

“I would still categorize it as continued optimism. We know Iowa State may still be interested in helping us with some angle but for right now they’re not moving in and we will continue to seek occupants that are ready to use the space here at the middle school,” said Cox.

With designs in place to build a new middle school, Dr. Cox says he’s enthusiastic about moving the process along and getting a deal finalized.

“There’s also an excitement about the new building we just saw some initial designs on Tuesday about that as well and how it could impact the community and impact students education and that after all is what it’s all about,” said Cox.

“We hope to come up with some sort of plan so that it makes it an even greater part of the community. It’s something that is very doable and something that were working very hard to accomplish,” said Walker.

ISU tells us the reason why a deal didn’t go through, was cost related.

However, they say they would still like to be involved in the process of potentially renovating the building.
one plan is to allow ISU design students an opportunity to develop their own plans for the school as part of their class.

Again it’s just one of the many ideas still in the works.

If the middle school is renovated and the school district leads the project, some are concerned about the impact on their property taxes.

A renovation project of that building would cost just over $17 million.

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