With passage of the bond, we will build a new school on the district-owned Zenith site to house Des Moines students, with room for growing enrollment. Our next step is to involve the school community of Des Moines in planning and design of their new schools. We will share information about a process for selecting a design committee in the coming weeks.
Des Moines Elementary is more than 90 years old and has been identified as a top priority for replacement. It is operating with outdated heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems that are costly to repair and at risk of failure. Because it was built in and for an earlier era, it is not up to current fire or earthquake codes. The electrical infrastructure cannot support the technology we expect in today’s schools.
An independent building evaluation
, completed in May 2013, listed multiple issues that could force sudden closure of the building. In that event, we would be forced to bus students to another facility. A new independent building evaluation
, completed in December 2014, also found many building systems beyond their useful life.
The Des Moines site is under four acres, less than half the state-recommended size for an elementary school. Because of that, we may be unable to collect some or all of the state matching funds available for school construction if we were to rebuild on that site. Rebuilding on the site would also require demolition of the existing building in order to accommodate growing enrollment.
We are sensitive to the school's historic significance to the community. The district plans to retain the Des Moines Elementary facility for school district use or for a public purpose.
The Zenith site is 17 acres, ample space for an elementary school with room for growing enrollment, playfields, adequate parking, and separate bus and parent drop-off areas for safety. The site is eligible for full state match.
Read a comparison of the two sites here
Below are pictures of Des Moines Elementary School taken in 2014. Click the icon on the upper left of the gallery to learn more about each photo.