Monticello Community School District

Monticello, Iowa
  • Client
    Monticello Community School District
  • SQ. FT.
    63,250 (new intermediate school)
  • Budget
  • Market
  • Year
    2020 (new intermediate school)

With a nearly 100-year-old middle school and two aging elementary schools, the district understood it had to address facility needs. OPN Architects was hired to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the its facilities and work with the district and a building committee to frame a long-term master plan, funded in part by a general obligation bond.

The design team assessed all four of the district’s existing buildings while simultaneously gathering anecdotal information from the building committee, staff, and the community. Based on this data, OPN Architects presented multiple renovation and construction scenarios and related costs to the building committee arming them with the information needed to prioritize needs and define a budget. With those parameters established, OPN guided the group through a process that ultimately led to a preferred concept, which was endorsed by the school board.

The proposed plan, implemented in three phases over a 10-year period, begins with the construction of a new intermediate 5-8 building adjacent to the high school and facility improvements to the high school. A second phase would use other funding to decommission the existing middle school and replace the district transportation center. Finally, in 2029, the district intends to seek another bond, which would partially fund a new PK-4 building, allowing the district to decommission both existing elementary schools and consolidate services.

Prior to a successful bond vote, OPN Architects worked with the district to ensure the community understood its needs and long-term vision. Messaging to voters was focused on the fiscal responsibility of a phased plan funded by multiple sources that doesn’t over spend or create a tax burden on property owners. In addition to multiple community meetings during the master planning process, OPN supported the district through additional informational sessions leading up to the vote. The team also helped the district hone its message through FAQ’s, newsletters, press releases, handouts, mailings, and boards.

Following the successful referendum, OPN moved forward with the design of a new 63,250-square-foot middle school connected to the existing high school, which will allow fifth through eighth grade students to move from the current middle school. The new building, recently completed in 2020, is equipped with a secure entrance, larger classrooms for collaborative learning, and an auxiliary gym with a regulation court.

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