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FOREST CITY | The Forest City School Board recently gave the administration permission to investigate a number of facility improvement projects that could take place over the next two years and beyond. 

During its Nov. 12 meeting, the board gave the go-ahead to one of those projects: tuck-pointing the exterior of the middle school and high school buildings at an estimated cost of $214,200. 

Ken Kaiser Restoration is expected to complete the project before school starts in August 2019.

School officials are hoping work can begin in the spring on portions of the buildings that aren't near any classrooms.  

"I'm nervous about waiting another year (to do the tuck-pointing)," said Darwin Lehmann, superintendent of the Forest City School District. 

He said contractors who do tuck-pointing are scarce, and the cost of the project likely will increase if it isn't done next year. 

Lehmann also said Kaiser did a great job tuck-pointing the elementary building last summer. 

Other projects being considered for the summer of 2019 include:

• Replacing the 40-year-old HVAC units in the high school gym, $360,000. 

• New football press box, $226,000. 

• Installing a new playground outside the preschool/daycare area at the elementary, $150,000. 

Projects school officials are looking at for the summer of 2020 and beyond include: 

• Athletic complex gateway master plan, $1.3 million. 

Lehmann said this project would provide better traffic control behind the middle school. 

The idea is to pave the current gravel path and install a gate.

"We get a ton of traffic on the back side of the school 24/7," Lehmann said. 

Traffic control is especially needed on home game nights for football, he noted. 

The project can't be done all in one year, so it will have to be done in phases, according to Lehmann. 

• New high school entry point, $1.1 million.  

Lehmann said this project would make the doors by the Iowa Communications Network room, which is by the office, the entry point for students who need to come in after the school day has started.  

Most of these students are seniors who also attend classes at Waldorf University or North Iowa Area Community College.

They would be buzzed in by the office staff before being allowed through the ICN doors.  

The general student population would still use the main entrance before and after school, but those doors would be locked from 8:30 a.m. until classes are dismissed for the day. 

The project also would include locating all the  support areas such as the records office, guidance, IT and the nurse's office, as well as two special education classrooms, near the main high school office. 

The idea is to better control the flow of students and put all the support spaces in the same location, according to Lehmann.

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