Bettendorf school officials recommending a second new elementary school; plan would combine Jefferson and Mark Twain into a new facility

The Bettendorf School Board's facility committee will recommend that both Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain Elementary Schools be closed and students combined into a new three-section building at a location yet to be determined, Board President Gordon Staley announced at Monday night's (12/18) meeting.

Rumors about the one-section Jefferson and two-section Twain elementary schools being combined into a new three-section building have swirled through the education community over the past two weeks.

According to Staley, the recommendation from the district's administrators was discussed by the board's three-member facilities committee and will be formally presented by Supt. Michael Raso at the January 8 board meeting.

Last month the board had reviewed a long list of improvements to the district's elementary and secondary schools with a price tag of some $42 million. That list did not have any cost estimates for combining elementary schools or building a new elementary building.

The district currently is in the midst of building a new three-section Grant Wood Elementary to replace the current facility. The new Grant Wood is being built on the same site as the existing school.

The location for a combined Jefferson/Twain school was not disclosed by Staley, but the site has been rumored to be the city owned Edgewood Park at 1400 23rd Street.

Just last year, the district concluded a year-long series of neighbor meetings about the future of the district's six elementary schools. The overriding message from community members at those meetings was to upgrade the existing elementary buildings and maintain the neighborhood school concept.

When pressed for more details about the elementary school plan, Staley said additional information would be posted later this week on the district web site.

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