Ottumwa celebrates first new school building in 40 years

Ottumwa school building groundbreaking

Nearly 40 people braved the rain Tuesday to witness something Ottumwa hasn't seen in nearly four decades.

A groundbreaking for a new Ottumwa school building.

At noon on Tuesday, school, business and community leaders celebrated the start of construction on the new and as of yet, unamed south side elementary school.

Superintendent Davis Eidahl says the new $14 million facility isn't just good for the district, but good for the community at large.

"It's a wonderful time for our community, it's a testament to how all the entities in our community our coming together. It's not just one organization that looking to be progressive, but its the entire community which included the school district. So It's pretty exciting that we are making the committment as a school district, as a community that we want this to be a great place to raise families," Eidahl said.

Construction of the 100,000 square foot building will begin this month, with a completion date of July, 2013. The building will serve approximately 750 students in grades two through five.

The design includes four learning communities with a centrally-located media center, computer lab. There will also be dedicated music and art classrooms.

A cafeteria and gymnasium will be located near the main entrance. The grounds will include a new playground to the south, parking for staff and parents, and a bus lane that is separate from parent traffic.

Eidahl says that building has one purpose in mind, improving elementary education in the district.

"Well I think it will focus professional development for teachers, allow us to meet specific needs for certain grade levels and also allow for greater collaboration between teachers. That is a big part of Iowa's blueprint putting our schools back to number one."

Click here for a look at the plans.