February 6, 2014


According the Duane Van Hemert and Sam Harding of Iowa Schoolhouse Construction and Planning Services, it would cost the IKM-Manning school district roughly $975,000 over the next 10 years to keep the Manilla building open.

This figure includes the real cost of upgrading or replacing the boiler, roof, electrical wiring, infrastructure, technology and air-conditioning systems - between $650,000 and $700,000 - and an additional 25 percent to cover the costs of the design and engineering services that would be required in order complete those upgrades, said Van Hemert. The windows in the building should last for another decade, but if they were replaced, this total figure would jump to $1.1 million, he added.

According to Van Hemert, there are no upgrades in the next 10 years that have to happen at the Irwin building, though it could eventually cost the district an estimated $500,000.

These figures were presented to the IKM-Manning School Board Wednesday night during a board work session in Manilla. The school board hired the Iowa Schoolhouse construction firm in September to evaluate the buildings, costs, enrollment trends and community feedback and recommend which building, if any, should be closed.

Last week, the consultation firm presented the IKM-Manning board with five scenarios, two of which were immediately rejected by the board because they did not close any of the buildings. Last night, Harding and Van Hemert, of Des Moines, returned with cost projections for three revised scenarios, two of which close the Manilla building and one that leaves all three open or closes the Irwin building.

The district currently serves pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in both Irwin and Manning. First and second grades are located in Irwin and third and fourth grades in Manning. The high school is also in Manning. Fifth through eighth grades are located in Manilla.

In the first revised scenario, third and fourth grades are moved from Manning to Irwin, fifth through eighth grades are moved from Manilla to Manning, the classroom wing in Manilla is closed, the gym in Manilla is maintained and Manilla serves as a transportation hub.

Costs of this scenario include moving a technology hub, which would be determined by the phone company, $25,000 to remodel central office space in Manning, $75,000 to add extra space to Irwin to accommodate the elementary students and the deferred cost of $350,000 to demolish the Manilla building.

In this scenario, the district can save $40,000 on utility costs and $362,000 on staff costs. It would also avoid spending $975,000 to upgrade Manilla. While the infrastructure costs are one-time expenses drawn from specific accounts such as physical plant and equipment levy funds, the $400,000 staff and facility reductions are recurring costs that are drawn every year from the general fund, meaning this $400,000 would be saved every year.

In the second revised scenario, first and second grades are moved from Irwin to Manning, fifth through eighth grades stay in Manilla and one preschool remains at Irwin, but the rest of the Irwin building is closed.

The benefits include no immediate costs for remodeling and savings of about $300,000 to the general fund through staff reductions.

Downsides included the deferred $975,000 cost to upgrade the Manilla building.

This is also an unsustainable scenario, the consultants said. It would mean closing Irwin at some point in the future as enrollment continues to decline - even if the incoming classes increase, they won't grow quickly enough to replace the larger high school classes that graduate - and in the interim, space and utility costs would be wasted in the form of empty rooms at both Manning and Manilla.

"You haven't totally maximized your space ... by keeping these three buildings," said Van Hemert.

"Even if you just get to two buildings, you're not if (Manilla) is one of them," Harding, of Jefferson, agreed.

Board members requested that the consultants calculate the costs of remodeling the Manilla building in order to move the preschool from Irwin to Manilla and close the Irwin building. These costs will be included in next week's presentation to the public.

The third revised scenario moves the fifth and sixth grades from Manilla to Manning; moving kindergarten, first and second grades from Irwin to Manning, leaving a preschool at Irwin; and moving sixth and seventh grades from Manilla to Irwin, closing the classrooms at Manilla and leaving the option to maintain a gym in Manilla as a practice facility, though it would be less needed as the junior high would have its own gym at Irwin, Harding added.

Pros cited by Van Hemert include consolidating all the elementary classes in one space for professional development, saving on the future $975,000 cost to upgrade the Manilla building, and saving about $402,000 in annual general-fund expenditures through staff reductions and reduced utility costs.

Immediate costs of the scenario include $175,000 to move miscellaneous equipment from Manilla to Irwin, such as lockers and freezers, $80,000 to remodel the science and consumer science labs at Irwin, the deferred $350,000 estimated cost of demolishing the Manilla building, and either $25,000 to remodel the central administrative offices at Manning or $5,000 to remodel these offices at Irwin.

Harding and Van Hemert explained that the future demolition cost for the Manilla building could be closer to $250,000 depending on the amount of asbestos that would need removed. In all scenarios, changes in transportation costs were negligible.

Board members also asked about potential costs to make the buildings handicapped-accessible. The consultants said the Manilla building would be more expensive to upgrade because it has more floors than the Irwin building. These costs will also be calculated and included in the firm's presentation to the public next week.

The consultants will make their recommendation in a public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, in the high school auditorium in Manning. The board members will receive a copy of the report and recommendation the morning of the public meeting.

The school board will discuss the firm's recommendation at its Feb. 19 meeting and plans to vote on any reconfiguration at its March 9 meeting, which will be held in the high school auditorium.