CEDAR FALLS — A portable classroom building will be on the move this summer as a new elementary school prepares to open.

The Board of Education on Monday approved plans and specifications to move the two-classroom portable from Southdale Elementary School to the high school. Board members also set a public hearing on the project.

Cedar Falls Community Schools’ elementary attendance boundaries will change next fall with the opening of Bess Steeter Aldrich Elementary School. The addition of the school off Erik Road west of Hudson Road is expected to alleviate a space crunch at Southdale and several other schools that are filled to capacity.

As a result, “the portable at Southdale no longer has a purpose,” said Superintendent Andy Pattee. Space will remain tight at Cedar Falls High School, though.

Plans are not finalized as to what classes will meet in the building. “We are looking at a couple different things right now,” he noted. That will be determined with registration for next fall.

Cody Mills of Invision Architecture in Waterloo, which designed the project, said a site has been chosen for the building at the high school. “We’re going to be putting that just south of the existing parking lot,” he said.

The projected cost for preparing the site, building the foundation and other expenses related to installing the portable totals $156,000. Officials expect bids to be in a range from $150,000 to $165,000. Additionally, there is a $23,000 anticipated cost for moving the building, bringing the total estimate to $175,000-$190,000.

Board member Jeff Hassman voiced concern with the cost of installing the portable in light of district officials’ hope to eventually build a new high school in another location.

“It’s frustrating, because it’s money you pour into the ground and you can’t recover it,” he said.

Board member Sasha Wohlpart responded, “The investment is for the students who will be there for the next five years, or however long it’s used.”

The plans and the hearing were approved 6-0 with board member Jenny Leeper abstaining. Her husband is an architect at Invision.

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