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Bids sought on $25 million new Lowell as insurance talks continue

Bids sought on $25 million new Lowell as insurance talks continue

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The decision has been made to raze the stately Lowell Elementary School.

WATERLOO — Bids are being sought for construction of a new Lowell Elementary School with an estimated $25 million price tag as efforts continue to reach an insurance settlement on the existing building.

The Board of Education Monday approved plans and specifications for the school, which will be rebuilt on its existing site at 1628 Washington St.

The current building, nearly 90 years old, was deemed structurally unsafe following a partial roof collapse on Feb. 20, 2019. Since then, classes have been held at the former facilities of Central Rivers Area Education Agency in Cedar Falls.

Waterloo Community Schools is “doing our best” to reach an insurance settlement, said Superintendent Jane Lindaman, but so far has been unsuccessful.

Waterloo Schools prepare for Lowell demolition

“We are continuing to meet with EMC out of Des Moines,” she noted, which provides the district’s insurance coverage. “We are working with legal counsel to explore our options.”

The district’s future 1% sales tax proceeds would be a major component of funding for the new school’s estimated expense, although the eventual insurance funds it receives would offset those costs.

Plans call for construction of a 450-student capacity school. That is larger than the existing building, but is the typical size of all new elementary schools in the district. The project “goes out to bidders on March 31,” said Lindaman, with a bid opening planned on April 21. A recommendation for the low bid is expected to come to the board shortly after that.

A $299,744 contract was approved last month for removal of asbestos and demolition of the current building. Officials say construction on the new school following that will be completed in time for a fall 2021 opening.

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Staff Writer

After 18-plus years reporting on local education, I’ve graduated to covering the city of Cedar Falls. Family and church commitments keep me busy outside of work along with lots of biking, rowing and skiing – pretty good for a guy with fake hips.

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