WATERLOO — Demolition equipment has taken a bite out of Lowell Elementary School as work to tear down the building got underway Thursday.
Lehman Trucking and Excavating began razing the nearly 90-year-old school at 1628 Washington St. after completing asbestos removal.
Lowell has not been used as a school since a roof collapse made it unsafe to occupy in February 2019. Waterloo Community Schools is in negotiations with EMC Insurance on a settlement for the damage, but no agreement has been reached. District officials decided early this year to move ahead before receiving any settlement money that could help fund a new building.
Demolition is expected to be finished sometime in July. At that point, construction will begin on a $21.94 million school replacing Lowell. The Board of Education approved the contract with Larson Construction of Independence a month ago.
The new school will have a kindergarten through fifth-grade capacity of 450 students, which is 100 more than the current building. It is also expected to have a 12-classroom preschool wing that would replace the Elk Run Preschool, which is in need of remodeling. Officials have said Lowell’s centralized location make it a good place for the preschool.
Until the pandemic closed schools in March, students had been attending classes in former Central Rivers Area Education Agency office and conference space in Cedar Falls and will continue to in the fall. They are expected to be able to move into the new building during the 2021-22 school year.
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