Greene County Community High School
ClientGreene County Community School District
SQ. FT.24,000 (new regional center); 107,000 (new high school); 96,500 (renovated middle school)
With a nearly 100-year-old middle school, Greene County Community School District had facility needs that had to be addressed for the health, safety, and education of their students. In a largely rural county, the communities of Greene County also recognized a need for development to ensure future economic vitality. Fueled by a desire to improve facilities and grow their communities, OPN Architects worked with the district to set priorities that addressed these simultaneous goals.
The plan included construction of a new high school with flexible learning spaces for grades 9 to 12, including a competition gymnasium and 700-seat performing arts center. To facilitate moving 5th through 8th grade from the aged, under-sized middle school, the existing high school also will be renovated with a secured entrance and updated gym. The district has also proactively teamed with Iowa Central Community College to create a Regional Academy connected to the high school that will serve as an educational funnel between the district and local industry as well as serve the entire county through continuing education and workforce training. These improved educational facilities will support and spark economic development in Greene County.
Preceding the vote, on an accelerated three-month timeline, OPN conducted assessments of the current middle school and high school, analyzed programming needs for a proposed new high school and regional center, and created building and site concepts.
In addition to the architectural pre-referendum services, OPN supported the district’s bond vote through strategic communication and marketing materials. The district had failed two prior referendums in the last two years, one following a contested district consolidation and closing of several school facilities. Messaging around the 2018 bond vote focused on a plan that was bigger than just one community and would improve the quality of life throughout the entire county. OPN visited each of the county’s four population centers – several of which had voted strongly against the last referendums. These listening posts were an opportunity for the design team to learn from the community while building consensus and generating support among voters. Additionally, OPN helped the district hone its message through FAQ’s, newsletters, press releases, handouts, mailings, and boards.
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