Groundbreaking ceremonies for the $14 million Woodward-Granger Elementary School recently occurred in Granger on the banks of Oxley Creek to the east of the present elementary school. Parents, students, staff and local business and community leaders attended the event, including the Woodward mayor, Granger city clerk and five members of the school board.
Brad Anderson, superintendent of the Woodward-Granger Community School District, and Eric M. Beron, architect with DLR Group of West Des Moines, architects of record for the project, unveiled the design for the new building, which is expected to be completed by Fall 2015.
"Two years ago, we looked at the growth rate of the school and knew we needed more room," Anderson said. "That’s when plans started taking shape." The new building will house second through fifth graders with four sections all the way through, while the present facility will continue to serve the three younger grades. DLR Group managed the first phase of the project, Beron said, which he called the "schematic design project." The second phase, called the "surcharge project," will begin this fall when masses of dirt are dumped on the site, he said. The sheer weight of the dirt will compact the soil beneath and let it settle over the winter months. This step is necessary, the architect said, due to the nature of soil deposition in Iowa and to previous tilling of the site.
Bids for the surcharge project will be solicited in the coming weeks, Beron said, with bidding on the contract for the construction of the building to begin in February.
Harold and Sheryl Rosen, Granger residents with a daughter, Abby, 7, in the elementary school, attended the groundbreaking and said the school has been "at capacity" for several years so the new school will be welcome.
Woodward Mayor Brian Devick agreed and said, "We were running out of space. The state predicts we will be the second-fastest growing district over the next five years, so we had to do something. If we want to attract working families with kids, one of the first things they want to know about is the schools. How good are they? What’s the student-teacher ratio?"
While Devick said he has not yet had a chance to closely review the design for the new school, he likes what he has seen so far. Currently, the school serves about 400 students in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth.