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5643 Kimball Ave.

The Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission denied Waterloo Community Schools' request to demolish this house on the Orange Elementary School property at 5643 Kimball Ave.

WATERLOO — Waterloo Community Schools is preparing to take action on two vacant buildings.

The Board of Education Monday is expected to set public hearings related to the properties when it meets at 5 p.m. in the Education Service Center, 1516 Washington St. The public hearings would take place Jan. 14.

One hearing will be for asbestos removal at the former Longfellow School, 233 Edwards St. The other will be for sale or disposal of a house adjacent to Orange Elementary School at 5643 Kimball Ave., which the district purchased in 2017.

Asbestos, a hazardous material, was once used in various construction materials. It can be found in buildings from a certain era for uses such as insulation, floor tiles, piping and windows. Removal is required under Iowa law before demolishing a school.

Longfellow opened as an elementary school in 1940 and closed in 2008. The Waterloo Educational and Behavioral Center opened in the next fall and programs moved to Expo Alternative Learning Center a year later. An annex, built in 1959, was used as a preschool for several years after Longfellow closed.

Buying the house was a condition of the 2011 land purchase agreement for the school’s construction. The board approved a contract in May to raze the house. However, the Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission voted in September to deny the demolition request by the company hired to complete the work.

Built in 1909, the house had the highest rating possible for architectural significance during a 1994 historic property survey the city commissioned.

In other business, the board will:

  • Hear a report on the 2017-18 district financial audit. Waterloo Schools has received an unqualified opinion for 20 consecutive years, meaning auditors found no major problems with the district’s finances.
  • Accept a $4,000 donation from Hope City Church, 118 High St., for use at two high schools, two middle schools and four elementaries.
  • Accept $2,509 in R.J. McElroy Trust Excellence in Education grant funds for projects at East High School, Hoover Middle School and Elk Run Early Childhood Center.
  • Hold a new Partners In Education signing ceremony for Sidecar Coffee and Kingsley Elementary School.
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Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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