“We just wanted to take this opportunity to say “Thank you” to the TK community. Your votes made this construction possible. We are grateful to your commitment to keep our future TK Strong!” fifth graders Emma Bowman and Audrey Kenyon said the small group of TK administrators, board members and community members gathered Wednesday afternoon at McFall for the event.
Voters approved a $42.8 million bond a year ago. The first project includes additional classrooms at each of the three elementary buildings – six at McFall and four each at Lee and Page. The additional classrooms are needed to accommodate the growth the district has experienced in years prior to COVID-19. In the past five years, the district has seen an enrollment increase of nearly 200 students with much of the growth seen at the elementary levels. Work on this phase is expected to be completed by fall of 2021.
Craig McCarty, TK Assistant Superintendent, welcomed guests to the ceremony. He thanked the citizen bond committee for their work getting the bond approved by voters and acknowledged the hours of work and meetings they put in to supporting the bond. He also thanked GMB Architectural firm and Owen-Ames-Kimball Construction for bringing the projects to fruition.
“There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes the last nine months to get to this point today,” McCarthy said.
TK Board of Education President David Smith also thanked the community for supporting the schools and the bond projects. “I’ve been on the board for some time now and I’ve had the privilege of watching this community support TK Schools for some time. We really appreciate the community approving this bond. This is an exciting day,”
Cade Dammen, a TK alumnus and the OAK Director of Field Operations said this project hits close to home for him. “My mom taught in this building. I went to school in this building and my kids will go to school in this building,” he said standing outside McFall Elementary. “I’m a proud community member, a proud alumni and I’m very proud to be here today.”
McCarthy asked the students attending to take the shovels first. “You are the reason we are doing all of this,” he said. “This is all for you guys.”
Each student took hold of a shovel, picked up a small amount of dirt and gave it a toss to signify the start of the projects. Students involved with the groundbreaking were Bowman and Kenyon from Page along with Levi Eggers from Page; Jenna Sabo, Eddie Lampton and Nate Boersma from Lee; and Mack Ferris, Kaelyn Peay and Rori Missad from McFall.
Next up were members of the TK Board of Education, Citizen Bond Committee members, administrators, community members, OAK Construction representatives and GMB Architects got their chance to toss the dirt and signify the start of construction.
There will be several more projects addressed with the bond funds over a several-year period. In proposing the bonds to votes, funds were broken into three categories:
- Growth – About $15.37 million needed to construct a new learning center, add elementary classrooms and expand the Page cafeteria.
- Basic Infrastructure – About $14.82 million is marked for basic infrastructure needs for aging buildings and systems. These items include new roofs, replacement emergency generator, doors, windows and flooring as needed, new paving and enhanced parking lot designs.
- Enhanced Learning Environments – Another $12.65 million is earmarked for creating enhanced learning environments for students. These projects include new art and music rooms at McFall, air conditioning for all areas of student learning in all buildings, pool and pool locker room upgrades, new tennis courts and stadium turf replacement when needed several years from now.
The next projects will include parking lot upgrades at Lee and the cafeteria expansion at Page in starting in spring 2021. Groundbreaking for the new Learning Center is expected in the spring of 2021 with an estimated completion by spring 2022. The new building will be located on a portion of an 80-acre parcel the district owns on the east side of Bender Road south of the high school. It will house the district’s 3 and 4-year-old preschool programs, Great Start Readiness Preschool, Early Childhood Special Education and child care.