North Tama begins study on facilities

Community meeting set for March 30

North Tama School officials recently announced that the district will engage in a formal process to ensure the district’s facilities are equipped to meet the needs of students in the coming decades. North Tama will cooperate with a team of architects and engineers to evaluate the current condition of the district’s facilities and gather input from district stakeholders. The data gathered from this facility study will lead to the development of a long-term facility master plan.

At their December meeting, the North Tama Board of Education voted to engage in a facility study headed by Align Architecture & Planning, PLC from Waterloo.

The Align Architecture team, in cooperation with partners from Modus Engineering and Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP, will assess the condition of North Tama’s existing facilities and analyze current and potential space use.

The study will also include opportunities for input from the school board, teaching and support staff, coaching staff, parents, and members of the school community.

The investigation will assist the school district in identifying maintenance priorities as well as the benefits, challenges, and costs of a variety of options which may include repairs, remodeling, or new construction.

The goal of the study is to lead the school district through a visioning process to discover and articulate what the North Tama district’s facilities could be like in the future and create a roadmap to achieve that vision.

The North Tama district underwent a facilities study in the early 00s that aided in the remodeling and renovation project completed in 2010.

North Tama Board of Education President Rod Zobel, who was one of seven board members voting in favor of initiating the facility study, explained that the study is designed to aid the board in their decision making to ensure North Tama can continue to meet the changing needs of students in both the short and long term future.

“The board toured all of the school’s facilities this past fall,” Zobel said. “We noticed several areas where facilities could be better utilized to excel student learning and provide better opportunities with some possible remodeling. We decided to bring in a team of outside experts to help us make the best possible decisions for our students, and for the long-term future of North Tama.”

The team from Align Architecture have successfully completed similar projects for other Iowa schools, including one of North Tama’s neighboring school districts and another school in North Tama’s athletic conference.

These firms partnered to conduct a similar comprehensive facility study, plus a multi-year construction, demolition and remodeling project, for the Dunkerton Community School District. Gladbrook-Reinbeck is currently working on a facility study with the Align team.

“Every school district has limited resources and no school can do all the work that would ideally need to be done,” North Tama Superintendent David Hill said. “That’s why it’s essential for North Tama to understand our facility needs and prioritize expenditures to maintain safe buildings, to support 21st century learning in our schools, and to protect the community’s investment in its facilities.”

In the coming weeks, members of the community will have the opportunity to engage in the facility study initiative by participating in meetings facilitated by the team of architects.

The team will share data and findings from the work they have done so far, and will ask for opinions, suggestions, and input from district stakeholders to ensure the board of education receives feedback from the entire school community.

During the month of March, the Align/PRA/Modus team have scheduled meetings with numerous community groups, including teachers, coaches, support staff, and student leaders. Once those stakeholder meetings are complete, the district hopes to receive the findings of the facilities study at a board meeting sometime in late April. The date and time of that meeting are yet to be determined.

On Tuesday, March 30 from 6 to 7:30 p.m., a special Community Input Meeting will be held for all interested district patrons including parents, alumni, members of the business community, farmers, civic leaders, booster organization members or any other interested North Tama taxpayers.

To ensure that everyone can participate regardless of the group size, quarantine status, and COVID safety protocols; the meeting will be held using the Zoom video conferencing platform. Those without a computer will be able to participate by telephone.

If you would like to receive the details on how to participate in this Community Input Meeting, by computer or telephone, simply visit https://tinyurl.com/NT-March30 and provide your contact information. You may also contact the school at 319-478-2265 to provide your contact information and to get signed up.

The insight and opinions of the entire school community will be critical in this process and will assist the school board in developing a clear path to the future.