Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What will go on the Hoover property?

It’s now been almost four years since the school board voted to close and tear down Hoover Elementary School. The demolition of the building is only about two years away. The district is about to ask voters for $191 million to pursue its facilities plan. Shouldn’t the district be able to tell the public what will happen on the Hoover property after the school is torn down?

Many Hoover neighbors are (very reasonably) worried that the site will become a parking lot for City High. So last week, I asked the superintendent:
Does the district have a plan for what will go on the Hoover property if the school is closed as planned?
His reply:
We have not done any concept work on the CHS campus yet so we do not have an answer to this question at this time.
I then asked:
Are there any plans to do that concept work before the bond referendum?
His reply:
The Business and Facilities office responded:
-The city high project is not scheduled to begin until 2019
-We currently do not have a design team in place for this project
-It would take several weeks / months and meetings to get a design team up to speed on this size of project
-The upfront design costs will be large for this project
-This is a bond funded project but we do not have access to those funds prior to the first bond sale after the vote
-To keep the FMP moving as it is we are already planning to put design teams in place for Mann, Lincoln, and the new elementary building yet this summer
-To fund these project designs prior to the vote we are holding back on PPEL life cycle implementation during the summer
-Should the bond pass we would “reimburse” the PPEL fund from the bond proceeds
-Should the bond fail we would have these design costs left in PPEL.
-We cannot afford to have City High design concept costs in PPEL at this time
The district is essentially saying to voters: First give us the $191 million, then we’ll tell you what will happen on the Hoover property.

The district is working very hard to promote its facilities plan before the bond vote. It now has separate web pages for each school in the facilities plan, describing the work that’s already been done and the future projects. If the district thought its future use of the Hoover property would be popular with the public, are those the answers it would give?


Chris said...

Note: Although the City High projects are subject to bond funding, the superintendent confirmed to me that “Funds remain in the original Hoover PPEL budget for the demolition of the Hoover.” (PPEL is the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.) The demolition itself will not be funded by the bond proposal.

Anonymous said...

Breaks my heart to see a perfect good district asset torn down. What an insane way to run a school district. Super. Murley and his facility manager both need to be shown the door.

Anonymous said...

Before Hoover becomes a parking lot, I certainly hope someone does a traffic study to determine just how dangerous the intersection of First and Court will be. It's bad enough already. Also, if I were living adjacent to that area, I would worry about things like water run-off. I imagine you can't just locate a large square of concrete somewhere without affecting close-by areas. Of course, that will affect families south of the school, and maybe they don’t have as much influence as those who live on the north side. Talk about being a good neighbor.

Anonymous said...

There's no way after all this time that the superintendent doesn't know what he is going to do with the property. That's not believable.

If it's just parking, the Luthern Church on Court has almost 5 acres. There is also a large property south of City High or some smaller houses around the school to buy.

In a walkable town, a lot of kids drive but not sure it's good or healthy.

Anonymous said...

It is going to be a parking lot. Get out of the denial.

amy said...

That is some kind of bullshit answer. Note too that Steve's making sure it's not coming from him or from any named individual.

I'm running out of ways to say "apart from the lunacy of the bond size, opening it up to these people? To the left."

Anonymous said...

I've heard Hoover will become a baseball stadium.

Anonymous said...

If it is a baseball stadium, then it will be the most expensive high school baseball stadium of all time. Demolition cost of Hoover, cost to build that lost capacity at the edge of town, cost to build the baseball field. Wow, that would be crazy. Crazy enough to be the real reason they aren't saying what they will put there til after the bond vote is done.

Anonymous said...

A parent at Hoover elementary told me she supports the demolition 100% because she has talked to the GO bond people and they told her the property will be used to expand City High, as in classrooms.
The self-deception is high with this one.
People who vote for this nonsense are going to feel so betrayed and stupid when they are asked to pay for a purdy new parking lot where Hoover Elementary used to be.

Anonymous said...

City High is losing a 500 (future 575) seat elementary feeder school and about half of Lincoln, hardly uses their few trailers for classrooms, yet we are being asked to pay to expand City more?

Chris, does City High really need expansion after they lose those students? Will you please give your objective answer? Your opinion/research result is one I can actually trust.

Anonymous said...

I's like to know the answer to 11:17's question as well. City High used to educate a lot of kids without even the new six classrooms or performing arts addition. Is there a document somewhere that lists each room at each high school with dimensions? There might be more space than we are being told.

I don't see how the GO bond people can say City High will be used for classrooms. Hoover isn't close enough to City High to put classrooms there. I don't see how this could work.

Anonymous said...

If City High really does need classroom space then why not just use Hoover as is. Why does dozing it have to be part of the plan. Aren't there greater needs right now? I think most of us know not to trust anything administration or GO bond people are telling us from past experience. I do think some are sincere in thinking that Hoover needs to be flattened for City High - they are just drinking the Murley-aid. Even if you did have mountains of money to spend and wanted to doze a perfectly good school, old Hoover doesn't seem like the logical first selection. There is no way they don't have some kind of plan for this space, whether it is parking lot or not. They just don't want us to know - form your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

The simple fact of the matter is that CH does not need classroom space. It has already received multiple additions and will be declining in enrollment due to the opening of Liberty. Also, east side elementary enrollment so far is lower than projections, which indicates that future growth at CH will likewise be less than expected.

I see a baseball and/or soccer field on the Hoover site.

Anonymous said...

The City High people have been obsessed with the size of CHS since the mid 2000's. They complained and complained about having fewer students than WHS despite the fact that the discrepancy was later shown to be much smaller than they claimed..
There is no doubt that the east side power grab will result in CHS having more seats and plenty of nice new classrooms (gotta compete with shiny new Liberty). And you know what, they're earning it. They have acquired district power and they are well into a campaign to use it.
Expect to see them use the $191 million bond to serve themselves seconds and thirds while holding back on WHS and Liberty just enough to gain that edge they think they need to lead the district into the next 50 years. Murley is for it, Lynch is for it, McG is for it, Roesler is for it, and every east sider privy to the plan is for it.
Unfortunately for them it involves making a deal with the devil. Lying, misdirection, deceit, name calling, gentrification, and greed abound in all of the workings of the past 17 years. And it's a big reason why they wont see the results they have conspired to achieve.
Corrupt leadership leaves a long trail of history. And in Iowa City, where people are educated and memories are long, that trail will haunt them in future ways their greed shielded them from seeing.