Ottumwa School Board to discuss plans for Douma Elementary

Douma Elementary will be closed for a year for renovations.

When Ottumwa's newest building, Liberty Elementary, opens in the fall of this year, Ottumwa students will be getting their education in a state-of-the-art building.

Construction for the new school is right on track, but there are still some problems to solve before the doors open. Liberty isn't big enough to house all the elementary students, kindergarten through fifth, so arrangements have been made for kindergartners and first-graders to attend school in Douma Elementary, then second-fifth grade in the new school. That way, every student has a chance to experience going to school in a brand new building.

Ottumwa Superintendent Davis Eidahl said Douma was the perfect choice to house the kids because the walls, roof and windows of the building are in great shape. But the inside needs some improvements to meet ADA standards, so the school board will be hearing from Liberty's architect Monday night on the specifics of the Douma renovation.

"The improvements that are going to be made, the reconfiguring from within and the addition that we'll place on the very front for office space so we can have, not only for safety, but for parent access and convenience, have the offices at the very front of the building, which they aren't right now," Eidahl said.

Once the finalized plan is discussed at Monday's meeting, the school board will also finalize a schedule. Eidahl said construction on Douma will hopefully begin in July of this year and be ready to open for students in August 2014.

While Douma is closed for renovations, Ottumwa's kindergarten and first-grade class will be split between Agassiz and Wildwood Elementaries for the 2013-2014 school year. Two buildings are being utilized because that age group needs a one-level, main floor building, and just one elementary school would not be big enough.

The entire construction plan for Douma is estimated to cost around $4.5 million.