CEDAR FALLS — The Board of Education on Monday approved a $161,878 contract to install a portable classroom building at Cedar Falls High School.

Koch Construction of Cedar Falls was the lone bidder on the project, which involves a portable owned by Cedar Falls Community Schools currently at Southdale Elementary School. Alysworth House Movers of Wadena will transport the two-classroom building at a cost of $23,000.

Brian Sanderman of Invision Architecture in Waterloo, which provided design services, said other companies inquired about the project but didn’t submit bids.

“Some of them just got other jobs,” he said. “This is a smaller project.” He noted the bid was within the estimated cost of $150,000-$165,000.

“We have accepted one bid (submissions) in the past,” said Doug Nefzger, chief financial officer. The company installed other portables for the district at North Cedar Elementary School last year. “I am comfortable with Koch Construction.”

The portable building is no longer needed at Southdale because crowding will be eased this fall in the lower grades with the opening of Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary School. Officials say the additional space is needed at the high school. It will be located at the north end of the high school near Division Street just south of the parking lot.

Superintendent Andy Pattee responded to concerns raised about the need for the portable in light of the fact that the high school served larger numbers of students decades ago. He noted educational needs have changes over the years since the early 1970s.

“Spaces are different than what we had with 35 kids sitting in rows,” he said. “Now we know that’s not best practice.”

Generally fewer students are placed in one classroom and space is used in more flexible ways.

Students can now take college classes at the high school, among the courses that weren’t available decades ago, Pattee explained. The school also has 20 classrooms dedicated to students with special needs due to passage of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act since that time.

In other business, the board approved:

  • Extending the contract of district auditor Carney, Alexander, Marrold & Co. for two more years at a cost of $20,400 for this fiscal year and $20,900 for 2018-19.
  • Purchasing two used 65-person capacity buses from School Bus Sales in Waterloo for a total of $115,700.