Summer Progress

As we near the completion of Step Three of our Facilities Master Plan process, we believe it is important to provide an update on the progress made since last spring. We are also nearing an important transition when the Board of Education will vote on a final Master Plan, starting Step Four of the Facilities Master Plan process: Implementation.

We want all of our valued stakeholders to learn what we worked on over the summer and what to expect in the coming weeks.

Amy Yurko from BrainsSpaces, inc. answers a community member’s questions during a Facilities Open House.

Amy Yurko from BrainsSpaces, inc. answers a community member’s questions during a Facilities Open House.

June Planning

As students, teachers, and families prepared for a rejuvenating summer, WDMCS administrators focused on evaluating a wealth of Fit Analysis data and community feedback collected over several months. In addition, four public meetings in June offered community members an opportunity to hear updates.

Using the benchmark criteria established during Step Two: Benchmarking and Fit Analysis, we worked with Shive-Hattery and BrainSpaces, Inc. to prioritize goals to best meet ALL student needs across our K-12 system. This resulted in an initial DRAFT plan presented to the Board during a July workshop.

It is important to note that no action is ever taken during board workshops. These meetings are intended for Board members to hear information, ask questions, and provide additional direction to WDMCS administration.

July 9, 2018 Board Workshop

The Board approved a Facilities Framework in January 2018. The framework has served as the foundation for all the facilities work completed over the past eight months. Based on the desired changes at each of our 13 schools, Shive-Hattery’s July presentation recommended renovations at some schools and new construction at others.

  • PK-5 - Add preschool to the two elementary schools that do not offer preschool. Move sixth-grade to a middle school model. Renovate each of the eight elementary buildings to address needs collected during the Fit Analysis.

  • Grades 6-8 -

    • Indian Hills Junior High: Build a new Indian Hills Middle School on the current Indian Hills grounds. Students could attend school at the current building while the new building was being constructed. The old building would then be demolished, and grounds would be updated to support activities and athletics.

    • Stilwell Junior High: Relocate Stilwell campus to Valley Southwoods Freshman High School building. The Southwoods building’s current layout supports a middle school teaming model. Additional renovations would be made to accommodate all three grades.

      • The current Stilwell site is 13 acres -- nearly 10 acres short of the recommended space for a 6-8 school.

      • No decision at this time was made regarding how the Stilwell site could be used. Discussions included demolishing Stilwell and Rex Mathes and/or considering other uses of the Stilwell building to serve families in the Valley Junction area.

  • Grades 9-12

    • Build an Innovation Center on Valley High School campus to optimize the number of students taking classes at the Innovation Center and decrease transportation and scheduling challenges if Center is located off campus.

    • Expand/renovate Valley High School to accommodate ninth-grade students and expanded programming.

    • Relocate softball and baseball fields to Valley Stadium area. This is needed to make space for the Innovation Center and necessary remodeling at Valley High School.

Board Direction: The Board discussed options but did not direct administration to make significant changes. They did ask administration develop possible options for what would be done on the Stilwell site.


July Community Feedback

WDMCS administration received feedback from the Valley Junction Neighborhood Association and other residents in the Valley Junction area voicing concern over moving Stilwell’s campus. Residents shared their disappointment over Valley Stadium and the West Des Moines library moving outside of Valley Junction and stated the importance of maintaining a neighborhood junior high on Stilwell’s campus..

The Board of Education called a Special Board meeting on July 25, 2018 to pass a resolution in response to community concerns. The resolution stated both the Indian Hills campus and Stilwell campus would be used as student attendance centers.

In addition to the resolution, WDMCS administrators attend an August Valley Junction Neighborhood Association meeting and other city meetings to answer questions and explain the master planning process.

August 13 Board Workshop

As teachers and administrators prepared to welcome students and families back for another school year, WDMCS administration collaborated with Shive-Hattery and Brainspaces, Inc. to determine additional options for all secondary schools. The PreK-5 recommendations remained the same from July’s workshop.

Board Priorities

The Board established six priorities for making secondary building solutions:

  1. Improve learning environments

  2. Create minimum three-year attendance facilities

  3. Create facilities with baseline equitable spaces

  4. Maintain district facility inventory

  5. Maintain current district boundaries

  6. Maintain student attendance areas on Indian Hills and Stilwell campuses.

Shive-Hattery shared several options to accommodate the above six priorities during the workshop presentation.

  • Two new or renovated junior highs - Indian Hills and Stilwell campus

    • Valley Southwoods would be renovated to support an Innovation Center

    • Walnut Creek campus built near Innovation Center

    • Home school students would use current Walnut Creek campus because Rex Mathes would be demolished to accommodate junior high school on Stilwell campus using new Fit Analysis space requirements.

  • Two junior highs—new Indian Hills campus and remodeled Valley Southwoods campus for Stilwell students

    • New Innovation Center would be built on Stilwell site.

  • Three middle schools -

    • New Indian Hills Junior High (three elementary schools would feed to it)

    • New Stilwell Junior High (two elementary schools would feed to it)

    • Remodeled Valley Southwoods (three elementary schools would feed to it)

    • Innovation Center built on Valley High School campus

Board Direction: The Board directed WDMCS administration to develop plans that maintained a junior high on the Stilwell campus. In addition, they directed administration to establish construction and operation pricing estimates for each option.

September 10 Board Workshop

Shive-Hattery, Brain Spaces, Inc., and WDMCS administration worked diligently over four weeks to identify two final options for Board review.

Option 1: Two Middle School Option

  • Estimated construction cost for entire plan: $300-$303 million

    • Sports Complex near Valley Stadium

    • Valley renovation

    • Innovation Center at Valley Southwoods

    • Walnut Creek Campus near Valley Southoods

    • Home school at Walnut Creek campus

    • Indian Hills and Stilwell as 6-8 middle schools

    • Elementary building renovations

  • Estimated additional annual operating cost for entire plan: $906,806

Option 2: Three Middle School Option

  • Estimated construction cost for entire plan: $252-265 million

    • Sports Complex near Valley Stadium

    • Valley renovation

    • Innovation Center on Valley High School campus

    • Walnut Creek Campus remains on current site

    • Indian Hills, Stilwell, and Valley Southwoods as 6-8 middle schools

    • Home school on Valley Southwoods campus

    • Elementary building renovations

  • Estimated additional annual operating cost for entire plan: $1,533,191

Capital Project Revenue Sources

PPEL = $6,712,266 x 10 years = $67,123,660

PPEL is a voter-approved levy that provides annual revenue for ongoing expenses for the district, such as building repairs, property construction, energy conservation, safety improvements, technology. The $67,123,660 would not be available for construction alone because it supports other items as listed above.

Extended One-Cent Sales Tax Beyond 2029 = $9,061,893 x 20 years = $181,237,860

The one-cent sales tax is known as the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education tax, or SAVE. School districts use the revenue to pay off long-term bonds used to finance school infrastructure projects and classroom technology needs. The Extended Sales Tax would require legislative action beyond 2029.

Board Direction: The Board of Education directed WDMCS administration to provide two new options based on the following criteria:

Assuming WDMCS only can use PPEL funding for renovations (approximately $50 million).

Assuming one-cent sales tax passes, capping entire project at $150 million. The Board did not feel comfortable allocating all PPEL and one-cent sales revenue for the next 20 years. This resulted in a $150 million budget cap.

Plans for September 24 Board Workshop

Shive-Hattery will present options based on the Board direction given at the Sept. 10 workshop. The Board will then decide if they are ready to move forward with a formal vote of the Facilities Master Plan at an October meeting.  The following cost information will be shared at the workshop.

Sept 24 Workshop-slide1.jpg

Overview and Costs Associated to Each Option.


Comparison of options to priorities.