The Pella School Board decided they will not seek the purchase and renovation of the Pella Recreation Center to develop a new early childhood center during their latest board meeting.

At a meeting on Aug. 12, the board discussed potentially purchasing the facility for an early childhood center, which has been identified as a high priority for their 2018-2028 Facility Plan. Based on a facility survey conducted by Neumann Monson Architects, the total project cost of renovating the recreation center is estimated to cost $6 million to $8.2 million.

However, due to the facility’s location, lack of potential for expansion, safety concerns and high natural gas costs based on a utility study, the board decided not to pursue the facility.

“It says on our Facility Plan that we will consider an existing building, so I think from a fiduciary vantage point, it was the right thing to do and to fully look at that,” said school board president Joan Corbin. “We are accountable to the tax payers.”

The board will continue their discussion for an early childhood center for the near future. A new 25,000 square foot facility is estimated to cost approximately $8.5 million to $10.6 million, but the board has a lot to consider before moving forward.

“The building is off the table for us, but we’re still trying to figure out what we’re able to do moving forward with early childhood and facility needs,” said Superintendent Greg Ebeling. “We’re figuring out what that looks like and how we can support that need in our community but also our own facility needs.”

Emily Hawk can be reached at ehawk@pellachronicle.com or by calling the newsroom at {span}641-628-3882.{/span}

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