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Jasper County Tribune

Colfax-Mingo school board hosts community meeting to discuss building projects

Andrew Van Leeuwen, principal senior architect for DLR, talks to Colfax and Mingo parents, children and board members about their studies regarding the school district buildings Tuesday night.
Andrew Van Leeuwen, principal senior architect for DLR, talks to Colfax and Mingo parents, children and board members about their studies regarding the school district buildings Tuesday night.

Residents with students in the Colfax-Mingo School district got a glimpse of what the status of their school building’s structures are like, and what the long-term plans are for them.

The March 5 meeting featured representatives of the school district’s hired firm, DLR, presenting their studies for the middle school in Mingo. Representatives gave a slide show on information for each building in the school district, followed by stations set up around the gym where guests can talk to the representatives one-on-one. Finally, guests were asked to provide feedback on what they’d like to see done with the district’s buildings.

“Almost 30 people are here, interested in the future of its facilities,” Colfax-Mingo School Board secretary Debra Hodgson said. “So everybody gets the same information and the rest of the community is aware of what the committees have been up to ... what the board has seen and discussed, and realize that the students and the staff are being asked for their input. We value all of the input.”

School board members were impressed at the details they were able to learn from the presentation, as well as to witness community members learning first-hand what will be a part of the school district’s master plan.

Doug Van Dyke, a board member, also gave guests a tour of the junior high building so they can see for themselves what the building looks like.

“That’s another reason why we wanted them to be here tonight,” Van Dyke said. “To give them a little more access, rather than just (hearing about it).”

DLR is an integrated design firm that has a location in Des Moines. According to the firm’s website, areas of building design expertise include courts, cultural and performing arts, detention, energy services, higher education, hospitality, housing, K-12 education and museums.

Andrew Van Leeuwen, principal senior architect for DLR, said Integrated Design Firm is full of architects, engineers, planners and material designers, and from their Des Moines office, they help school districts across the state with long-range facility plans, new facilities and the full spectrum.

“Through this process, we had worked on the addition to the junior and senior high. When the district decided to go with this next part of its planning process, they reached out to several firms,” Van Leeuwen said. “The DLR team presented in front of their board. With our team and services we provide, the board ultimately selected us to help them with their long-range plan.”

The school district will have another community meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Colfax-Mingo Elementary School gymnasium.

Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 ext. 6533 or at oshawl@newtondailynews.com

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