Urbandale Voters Decide to Build New Schools and Fitness Center

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URBANDALE, Iowa  —  Many mothers Channel 13 spoke with at the Urbandale Public Library voted yes in the 2018 School Bond Special Election.

“I did vote yes for it, just because I do want to see our schools in Urbandale improved and I think that by consolidating the elementary schools, hopefully the resources will be better spread around,” said Laurie Hughell, a local mother.

Hannah Fahey, whose child also attends school in the district, said voting yes was a no-brainer.

“Everyone in Urbandale that has kids should,” said Fahey. “It’s for better schools…my child is elementary school now, but when she goes to high school, it’s for better recreational facilities there. It’s yes for everything.”

Alaina Santizo, another local mother, said the plan to build two new elementary buildings and a fitness center as an addition to the existing high school building looked like a good plan.

“My kids go to school at Webster, which is not one of the schools involved, but it seems like a good opportunity for our school district to have some efficiencies and I want to see our school district continue to thrive, draw new families, so this seems like a good opportunity,” she said.

Superintendent of schools Steve Bass said the district has a year and a half before construction begins.

“One would be the construction would start in the fall of 2019, 2020, and it would take two years, so basically the fall of 2021,” said Bass. “The second building would not even start until the fall of 2023, and then we’d move in in the fall of 2025. We just don’t have the capacity to build two schools at the same time.”

Bass said something needed to be done, because five of the district’s six elementary schools, built between 1952 and 1963, had aged out. Now, it won’t just be the people who live on the west side of town that have a beautiful elementary school in Webster Elementary; instead, there will be equity throughout the community.

“You look at the last two referendums in 2005 and 2007,” said Bass. “We built one new elementary school, a new high school and did a renovation, and addition to the middle school. This basically completes it. We’ll have 21st century schools across the district, so we’re pretty excited about that.”

Voters in Ankeny and Waukee also signed off on new buildings. With 88% support, Ankeny residents easily approved a plan to build an $18 million elementary school. In Waukee, unofficial results show 90% approval for a second high school. The $117 million bond will pay for the new school and renovations to the current high school. Both plans will not increase property taxes.