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Voters approve construction of two new elementary schools in the Waverly-Shell Rock School District

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WAVERLY, Iowa (KWWL) - Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District will shut down three current elementary schools, and build two larger ones. Voters approved a bond issue of $31 million for the construction, and the improvement of two other schools in the district.

One of the elementary schools will be located on the northeast side of Waverly, while the other will be on the west side. The reason for this change is due to capacity issues at some of the current elementary schools.

"Very exciting, we're very excited and we're really thankful for the community's support," Elementary Music Teacher Rachael Nelson said.

Nelson currently shares her music classroom with the art teacher. It's the case for many classrooms throughout the elementary schools.

The lunchroom at West Cedar Elementary school doubles as the physical education space, and some students are even forced to work in hallways to make for more room.

"It's a game changer for everyone. You know, just being able to spread out a little bit more for our students and provide different opportunities than we would if we were in a smaller space," Nelson said.

Southeast Elementary and Margaretta Carey Elementary schools even have portable classroom buildings, because the schools do not have enough space.

"We've got about a hundred students that are served in those buildings currently and wed like to get them back into the regular school building," Waverly-Shell Rock Community School District Superintendent Ed Klamfoth said.

The schools are about 15% over capacity, and have been that way for years, according to Klamfoth.

The new elementary schools won't only make for more space for the students, but also a better working environment.

"These buildings were designed in the fifties so they were designed in a way that doesn't really address modern techniques and modern teaching," Klamfoth said.

The three elementary schools that will shut down once the new ones are built will be West Cedar, Carey, and Southeast Elementary.

Students, teachers, and district parents are looking forward to this next phase for the district.

"I do my best with that and we work around it, but having the freedom to actually teach what I teach in the best way is really important," Nelson said.

Construction is expected to start in 2023, following the completion of a current ongoing project at the district's middle school. The district expects to spend $15 million over what the bond issue was approved for.

Other improvements that will come out of the approved bond amount are maintenance repairs and the addition of air conditioning within the Shell Rock Elementary and the district high school.

Superintendent Klamfoth says the district is unsure how the staff, or the students will be divided among the two new schools due to the construction still being quite a ways away.

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Diego Hernandez

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