Facility Committee Reviews ESTES Findings

As the Facility Committee continues to look at options for improvements to the  FMCSD facilities we wanted to update the community, as promised, on the findings that resulted from the  ESTES assessment. While the initial findings of the assessment are available, the QLEO analysis results will be available in a few weeks. ESTES presented the initial findings to the Facilities Committee and to the Fort Madison School Board on December 16th, 2019. 

The initial assessment provides information about the physical needs of our facilities that should be completed as general upkeep for our buildings. Their findings have been broken down into four categories: Suggested, Recommended, Required, and Urgent. 

  • A Urgent: This work should be completed within a year.
  • B Required: This work should be completed within 1 to 5 years.
  • C Recommended: This work may not be required to be completed at this time, but is recommended to be completed within 5 to 10 years.
  • D Suggested: This work may not be required to be completed at this time, but is suggested to be completed 10+ years out.

Initial findings include but are not limited to: 

  • the high school air conditioning; 
  • abatement of asbestos in buildings where it exists – the asbestos is already encapsulated in all buildings as required by code; 
  • the updating of doors, drinking fountains, entrances to bring them up to ADA compliance; 
  • Lincoln Elementary roof updates; 
  • secure entrances at Lincoln and Richardson Elementaries;

These initial assessments only address field investigation findings such as electrical, mechanical, plumbing, as well as safety and security. Overall it addresses building improvements but does not address additions, upgrades, or enhancements to our educational spaces. For example, the assessment will find that a roof may need to be repaired, but will not address the fact that the elementary gyms are being used for lunch and breakfast. 

As the community is aware, we have tried four times to get a GOBond passed. Our reality is that our oldest buildings need substantial and costly maintenance and improvements and we are at a point where this needs to be addressed.  With that in mind it is the recommendation of the facilities committee that the school board pursue a vote of PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) in March of 2020, at a time where it will have a zero tax impact on taxpayers in the Fort Madison Community District. To pass, the voted PPEL will need voter approval to be at 50% +1. The PPEL is utilized by school districts across the state of Iowa to provide funding for maintenance projects, repairs, and purchase of transportation equipment. 


FMCSD still needs a long term plan to provide future ready learning spaces to our youngest students. It is the goal of FMCSD to form a community facilities committee and work jointly to develop a plan that addresses learning space improvements.  

Should the board proceed with a special election in March and the community supports it, the district could start working on necessary work on our oldest buildings. For example: 

  • Summer 2020 Construction/Projects 
    • High School: Finalize Central Air and renovate the remaining windows as phase three of the High School air conditioning project. 
    • Lincoln Elementary (Proposed): Abatement / New main office location that provides safe and secure access
    • Richardson Elementary (Proposed): Abatement / New main office location that provides safe and secure access
  • Summer 2021 Construction/Projects
    • High School:  TBD
    • Lincoln Elementary: TBD
    • Richardson Elementary: TBD
  • Summer 2021 Financials
    • If the middle school bonds are paid off in summer  2021, FMCSD could have up to $22 million available to potentially spend on a long range facilities plan.

The long range plan will be developed by a group of community members and you will be able to join in the coming weeks, with more information that will be available soon. We will be looking for members from the following groups:

  • Parent Representatives (4 ES, 2 MS, 2 HS) 
  • Principals (2 ES, 1 MS, 1 HS) 
  • Certified Staff (2 ES, 1 MS, 1 HS)  
  • Classified Staff (2)
  • Students (2 HS)  
  • Business Representatives (2)
  • Local Government Representatives (2)
  • Community Members (2)

Understanding that not all categories might be filled we are hopeful that this committee can bring the community together and that it will be able to develop a long term plan for all FMCSD facilities. 

We will share more information as soon as it becomes available.

~ FMCSD Facility Committee

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