Fort Madison Wants "WOW" Factor

Fort Madison, IA – The firm hired to design the Fort Madison School District's newest school is starting to get an idea of what people want to see in the building.

The DLR Group is based in Des Moines. The firm used a recent two-day work session to gather input from community members and district employees.

Director of Student Services Greg Smith says issues such as the size of classrooms, the location of computer labs, and the need for one or two gymnasiums were prominently discussed. He says one idea, though, stood out during the meeting.

Smith says everyone wanted the new 4th-8th grade school to have that "WOW" factor. "They thought it was really important," says Smith, "that no matter what we do, that this building is something the district, the students, the parents, and people who visit the community can be proud of."

About 30 people took part in the 2-day work session. Smith says a few of them also traveled to Boone, Ames, and Gilbert to look at some recently built schools.

The district plans to build the new school on about 100 acres of land west of Fort Madison. Smith says the district's goal is to open the building for the 2011-2012 school year.

Fort Madison will borrow money against its future sales tax revenue receipts and spend reserve funds on the roughly $20-million project.

Smith says the next input session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 6. He says the DLR group is expected to take that information, add it to what has been collected in recent weeks, and develop a rough sketch to present to the school in about a month.