WATERLOO — A new Lowell Elementary School will be built on the existing site at 1628 Washington St. after part of the building’s roof collapsed under heavy snow last February.
The new school is expected to open in August 2021.
The existing Lowell school, built in 1931 and renovated in 2005, has been deemed unsafe by structural engineers, who have determined repairs to meet building codes would require a near total reconstruction.
The district looked at other options, including finding space for students in existing schools or building at a new location, but decided building new at the existing site is best, allowing students and teachers to stay together.
“We are grateful for the patience on the part of the students, staff and families and plan to move forward as quickly as possible,” said Waterloo Schools Superintendent Jane Lindaman in a press release.
Students will continue this year and the next to attend classes at the alternate location in the Central Rivers Area Education Agency’s former conference center and special education buildings at 3706 and 3712 Cedar Heights Drive in Cedar Falls.
District officials have been working with the district’s insurance company, EMC of Des Moines, for almost a year to reach a mutually agreed upon valuation for the existing building, but remain stalemated. The district is moving ahead with plans to construct a new school despite not having reached a settlement.
“We are enacting our rights under our policy and pursuing legal options, but we can wait no longer. Lowell students need a home,” Lindaman said.
Lindaman said the insurance company has repeatedly promised to meet deadlines to reach a settlement but failed to do so. When the latest deadline, Dec. 31, passed without an agreement, the district decided to proceed with plans for a new building as it pursues its legal rights under its policy with the insurance carrier.
“We are going to build a brand new school and at the same time work to resolve the insurance impasse,” she said.
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