Meetings continue on proposed high school, career academy

~by The Scranton Journal

Informational meetings are underway around Greene County as school officials and the Friends of Education Committee seek input into the plans for a new high school / career center in Jefferson. Meetings have been held in Rippey, Scranton and Jefferson.

Next up are meetings at the Greene County Community Center in Jefferson on Thursday, January 18, and on Monday, January 22, at the Grand Junction Community Center. The public is invited to the time most convenient: 10 am, 1, 5 or 7 pm in either location.

Dr Steve Karber and his wife Julie presented the information in Scranton on Jan. 4. The duo solicited comments and feedback from the community regarding the proposed construction.

About 45 minutes of the “fireside chat” was played, featuring Sid Jones and Chris Deal, Jefferson businessmen, along with Dr Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Central Community College. Rick Morain of Jefferson was moderator.

Deal and Jones began with the idea of a career academy that would be operated by Iowa Central. A variety of classes would be available ranging from welding to hospitality. The intent is to meet the needs of businesses in Greene County. The potential to draw students from the surrounding school districts is also a plus.

The proposed location of the new facilities is west of American Athletic Inc / Spaulding on Highway 30 in Jefferson. Utilizing a south entrance would keep the traffic off the major highway. The property is owned by Mike and Kathy Bravard who, according to Steve Karber, are in favor of the project.

Karber explained that nothing is set in stone and the group is open to any and all ideas.

Initial plans are to hold a special election on the school proposal on April 3. Although no cost estimate has been obtained, the last bond issue was for $20 million and included a competition gym. This time, organizers are planning for the gym to be constructed using private funding.

The plans also call for Iowa Central to staff and provide equipment for the career academy.

“We really want feedback from people,” said Karber. “It’s not just you’re against it or you’re for it. We want feedback to see how we can make this a better issue for everyone, so we can come together as a county.”

OPN Architect firm has been hired by the Greene County Schools board. The firm will assist with the informational meetings prior to the vote.

“We’re going to take this information to the architects and they’re going to put things together,” added Karber. “Then we’ll come back with that product, review it with the public, and then come with the final product. There’s a couple steps yet before we get to the final product.”

OPN Architects have planned community meetings to get additional feedback. They are scheduled as follows:

• Wednesday, Jan. 10: Grand Junction Community Center, 5:30 pm; and Greene County Community Center in Jefferson, 7:30 pm.
• Thursday, January 11: Scranton Community Center, 8:30 am; and Rippey Community Center, 10:30 am.

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