TIFFIN– The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) school district has hired a contractor to build its new school.
Portzen Construction, Inc. of Dubuque was the winning bidder for building the new elementary on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highway 6 and Jasper Avenue. Portzen’s bid of $14,403,700 was accepted at the school board’s regular meeting Wednesday, May 21, at Clear Creek Elementary in Oxford.
The amount includes four alternate features, such as a full-size gymnasium, additional parking spaces and casework cabinetry in the classrooms.
Board members, the district’s administrative team, representatives from engineering and architectural firm Shive-Hattery, and other contractors gathered at the school site for a groundbreaking on Tuesday, May 27.
Construction was to begin almost immediately with site prep and dirt work. Part of the process involves piling dirt on the south end of the site to compact, or “pre-load” the soil. Once the pre-load is complete, the excess dirt will be hauled to the middle school in Tiffin to pre-load the ground where a new addition will be built. Bids will be let for that project later this month and awarded in July.
A $48 million bond issue approved by voters in February is funding both projects, as well as improvements at Amana Elementary. The bonds are being sold in three phases as projects are approved. The board authorized the sale of $32,335,000 in bonds at a regular meeting on Wednesday, May 14. Four bids were received for the sale, which was overseen and conducted by Piper Jaffray, the district’s financial firm. Tim Oswald, managing director public finance and investment banking, reminded the board, “This (first phase) money will all be spent within 12 months.” Oswald also told the board he expected the district’s $4.05 property tax levy will be able to be lowered within a few years.
The new elementary will be largely based on the design of North Bend Elementary in North Liberty, which opened in 2008. Since then, said Keith Johnk of Shive-Hattery, there have been two changes in building standards as well as new energy efficiency standards that will be reflected in the future school’s design. Also, the new school will be larger then North Bend, with an additional pre-kindergarten section and two additional kindergarten rooms.
Johnk said passersby on Highway 6 should see progress very quickly, with concrete block walls going up by the end of the month.