ICCSD confirms a new construction plan

An overview of what renovations West will be getting and how the construction will affect students and staff.

Vivian Polgreen, Managing Co-Editor, News Editor

Earlier this month, the Iowa City Community School District school board approved $10.6 million for renovations at West High. This renovation is the last part of a series of construction projects across the district. 

City High received updated heating and cooling systems. Liberty High received an addition of 21 classrooms which increased the school’s capacity from 1,000 to 1,500 students. West also received a renovation in 2019 that gave most classrooms new windows and added geothermal heating and cooling throughout the building.

In this renovation, West will be getting a new common area, main entrance, office, band room, orchestra room, library and an outdoor plaza area. Additionally, the stairway in the library will also be taken out, and more classrooms will be added above the library.

“We’re getting new classrooms for the first time since 2004. We haven’t really had classroom additions. Right now, every single room in our building is being utilized,” said Principal Mitch Gross. “If we were just told we were going to get a brand new science teacher, we’d have no place to put that teacher or a brand new social studies teacher, or English teacher. So we need more classrooms, which is a good problem to have.”

We’re getting new classrooms for the first time since 2004. We haven’t really had classroom additions. Right now, every single room in our building is being utilized”

— Mr. Gross

This construction is set to start this summer, and will hopefully be finished in 2025. Fewer students will be disrupted during this round of construction than in 2019 because most of the renovations will be taking place in the office area. However, the staff who work in the offices will have to move as a result. Choir, orchestra and band will also have to be relocated, as these rooms will be under construction as well. 

“There are offices upstairs, and we might have to use those. The smaller band room might be utilized. I was moved, preemptively, down to the basement… there’s not going to be an ideal system,” said Mr. Gross.

Despite these interruptions, Mr. Gross believes that the amenities West will receive in the building updates will be worthwhile in the long run.

I’m very pleased with how the project turned out. I think people will be really happy with it”

— Mr. Gross