Expand Question Where will students attend school while the new elementary schools are being built?

During the 2-year construction phase of the first elementary school on the Olmsted site, Olmsted students and staff will be relocated to Jensen Elementary and Karen Acres Elementary. Once the second school is scheduled to begin construction on the Valerius site, we will relocate all Valerius students and staff to the now vacant Jensen building until the new building on the Valerius site is completed. These 2-year transitions are temporary and needed during construction of the new buildings.

Expand Question When will Olmsted families receive information about student placement and bus availability?

The week of October 1st, we will inform Olmsted families, including families open enrolled at Olmsted, with incoming 1st grade through 4th grade students, of student placement and bus availability for the 2019-20 school year. Our focus for placement will be based on grouping students according to neighborhood. We will include guidelines for making an alternate placement request. You will receive this communication via U.S. postal mail.

Expand Question Were external (off-site) relocation options for students considered for the 2-year construction phase of the first elementary school?

Members of the Relocation Committee conducted site visits and detailed discussions with two local churches, Aldersgate United Methodist Church and New Hope Assembly of God, in order to determine if an external site could support the needs of Olmsted students. (Note: We also considered other external site locations but the sites could not meet our requirements.) While both churches embraced conceptual space-use proposals that we sent them in June, there are important reasons why an internal solution is the best approach. These reasons include: 1) In using an external solution, we would experience a substantial decrease in our ability to provide full-spectrum elementary programming for all students (e.g. before/after school care, special education, English language learner, related arts, and outdoor recess). 2) We would need to make significant infrastructure improvements to provide equitable services and access (e.g. building security, internet, and phone). 3) There are federal and state regulations that must be followed by public schools/early childhood programs/child care facilities (e.g. outdoor play areas and licensing of space) for which the external sites would not fully meet these requirements. 4) Our need to create a secure entry and exit by controlling who enters a facility would be challenging. 5) When considering the most efficient and responsible use of district finances, we have the capacity to support the temporary relocation of students within our existing school buildings

Expand Question When will staffing decisions be made regarding the 2-year transition/construction period?

We will inform Olmsted staff of their assignments once enrollment projections are solidified. We’ll develop opportunities for Olmsted staff to build relationships with Karen Acres and/or Jensen teachers. As the year progresses, professional development will also begin to support building relationships among staff from multiple buildings. We will provide greater details on co-teaching expectations and training for how to be successful in a co-teaching classroom space.

Expand Question When will families with incoming kindergarten students for the 2019-20 school year be informed of placement?

Incoming Kindergarten students for the 2019-20 school year will utilize the same Kindergarten Pre-Registration process that typically begins in February. We will take steps to ensure your Kindergarten student is placed in the same school as his/her sibling(s) if possible.

Expand Question When will families with incoming 3-year-old and/or 4-year-old preschool students for the 2019-20 school year be informed of placement?

Preschool families will utilize the same registration and prioritizing process as has been used previously, and programming will be located at Webster, Karen Acres and Rolling Green Elementary (Note: Rolling Green will include a year-round option and traditional calendar option.).

Expand Question How will Olmsted students and families begin getting to know Jensen Elementary and Karen Acres Elementary?

We will be planning “welcome events and activities” at Jensen and Karen Acres for Olmsted families to attend later this spring in order to become more familiar with the schools, meet more teachers, and begin to feel a connection to the school.

Expand Question What are the specifics for relocating Olmsted students and staff for the 2-year construction phase?

Option #1 would relocate Olmsted kindergarten through 5th grade students primarily to Jensen Elementary and Karen Acres Elementary. Currently, Olmsted, Jensen, and Karen Acres have two sections per grade level. Half of Olmsted students would go to Jensen and half would go to Karen Acres. For example, Olmsted has two sections of 3rd grade so one section of 3rd grade would move to Jensen and the other section of 3rd grade would move to Karen Acres. In the same example, Jensen would utilize two classroom spaces to support three sections of 3rd grade (same for Karen Acres). This would mean class sizes would increase, but the teacher-to-student ratio would be similar to current classrooms and/or potentially decrease as there would be one additional teacher per grade level (total of three teachers for two sections of each grade level; the third teacher would be shared 2 between two classrooms). We would provide training for staff to learn co-teaching strategies in order to continue successfully supporting students. Preschool programming would be relocated to Karen Acres and Rolling Green Elementary.

This option keeps siblings together and closer to home as students would be assigned to either Jensen or Karen Acres based on their home location (Note: Once enrollment projections for the 2019-20 school year are solidified, we’ll be better able to confirm if all Olmsted students can be fully supported at Jensen and Karen Acres, or if we need to consider classroom space at additional buildings). Please keep in mind, this is a temporary two-year relocation and not a permanent situation. Relocating students allows for the construction of a new four-section school on the current Olmsted site.

Expand Question When will the new UHS fitness center open?

Construction is anticipated to begin spring 2019 and be completed spring 2020. We will make adjustments to parking as needed in order to accommodate the needs of students, staff, and construction.

Expand Question What are some of the features of the new UHS fitness center?

The new space will feature an approximate 3,800 sq ft multi-purpose fitness area with flooring to support a host of activities such as yoga, cheer practice, and dance practice. Also featured will be an approximate 9,300 sq ft weight/fitness area that will accommodate free weight training, and speed and agility enhancement with a single lane of track and of turf. Approximately 4,900 sq ft will include circulation areas, lobby, new concessions, and new restrooms that support activities in the two existing gymnasiums. The Fitness Center will support general wellness of all UHS students as the spaces will be incorporated into the daily academic Physical Education (P.E.) program. Spaces will also support Urbandale Community Education Classes.

Expand Question What are the estimated costs for the UHS fitness center?

Total estimated costs for the design and construction of the fitness center: $3.5 Million. This will be funded through general obligation bonds. Total estimated costs for purchasing equipment: $500,000. This will be funded through SAVE (state penny) dollars. In addition to the design, construction, and outfitting of the fitness center, the lighting will be upgraded and restrooms renovated for a total estimated cost of $1.5 Million. This will be funded through Physical Plant & Equipment Levy funds.

Expand Question What are the estimated costs for the first elementary school (to be built on the Olmsted site)?

Total estimated costs for the design and construction of elementary #1: $29 Million. This will be funded through general obligation bonds.

Do you have a question that is not answered above? Please email ConstructionCentral@urbandaleschools.com As we receive new questions, we’ll respond directly to your question and post both the question and answer within the FAQs.