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Camanche School Board considers how to upgrade high school facilities

From the theater to the pool and gym, Camanche High School says upgrades are necessary for aging, outdated facilities. “We really believe our students des...

CAMANCHE, Iowa-- From the theater to the gym, members of the Camanche School Board are meeting Wednesday, Feb. 12 to create a plan to upgrade the high school.

The high school was built in the mid-70s and the pool was built in the 80s. With growing extracurriculars and the aging building, the district says updates are required.

"Obviously, we're an academic institution and want to see our students prepare and succeed based upon their education," Superintendent Tom Parker said, "But also understand an important component is the opportunity to be involved in activities, whether it be fine arts, whether it be athletics."

The school's pool has actually been closed for two years. Parker says it's become too costly to maintain it over the years. He says school board members are considering renovating the pool, which could cost a million dollars alone, or filling the pool to put the room to new use.

He says they would also decide if the school and community needs a new pool of its own.

Parker says athletics have also become so popular the main gym is in high demand. The district wants to add a new auxiliary gym for practices and P.E. classes.

Lastly, they want to expand the theater. Right now, it sits about 270 people and they often have to turn people away from performances. Parker says they'd like to build onto the theater, creating more seating and a stage big enough to hold choir and band concerts. Right now, those are held in the gym.

"You do need to reinvest in our facilities and you do need to provide our students with equitable facilities," Parker said.

"We really believe our students deserve equitable opportunities with students anywhere in the state of Iowa as far as with school facilities. So the school board is looking at presenting these facts to the community, and we're asking the community, 'Please take a look at these.'"

Beyond those facilities, Parker says the district also wants to upgrade the school's entrance to be more secure.

While nothing is set in stone yet, he says the perfect proposal in a perfect world would cost around $18 million. He says feedback from the community shows people want to critically look at the plan to get the most bang for their buck.

The proposal would require a bond referendum vote from taxpayers for approval but it's too early in the planning process to set a date for that vote.