Crews at North Polk Community School District are working to finalize construction projects prior to the return of students. On Aug. 23, students of West Elementary and the middle school will notice major changes to the school building they last saw in May.

At West Elementary, construction projects included an academic wing that added six classrooms, additional cafeteria space to increase serving capacity and a re-designed front entrance to provide for a more secure entry. The project also allowed for the building to be reconfigured so that specials classes are located near each other. Students will occupy larger classroom spaces and teachers will no longer share rooms or hold classes in conference rooms.

Similar to West, construction projects at the North Polk Middle School included additional cafeteria space and a re-designed, more secure front entrance. Also included in the middle school project was a media center that provides students with a multi-functional space to learn and gather. The project modernized part of the oldest section of the building and puts the middle school in a position to add additional classrooms when the time is appropriate.

At both schools, construction improves the infrastructure of the building in order to allow for future expansions. “With the growth we’re experiencing, it’s important that we, as a district, continue to meet the needs of our increasing student body,” said Dr. Dan Mart, superintendent of schools. “Completion of these projects allows our district to continue to provide a high-quality education to the students of North Polk.”

Construction projects were made possible through the community’s support of a $5.2 million bond referendum that passed in February of 2017. “I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our community members for their support of our school district and, more specifically, voting for the passage of the 2017 bond referendum,” said Mart. “With your support, great things like this are made possible for our students.”

Over the last several years, North Polk Community School District has experienced increased student enrollment caused by residential growth within district boundaries. According to a 2015 enrollment study by RSP & Associates, the district is projected to experience annual increases of between 69 and 105 students through 2025. For the upcoming school year, the district is anticipating an estimated increase of 60 students, pushing total enrollment to approximately 1,850 students. The additional space and security measures made possible through the 2017 bond referendum help meet the growing needs of North Polk students.