SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Members of the Sioux City Community School District are hitting the breaks on a proposed land purchase of property identified as the possible site of a future elementary school.
It was a topic of discussion at Monday night’s school board meeting. School board members voted 5-1 to, at least for now, not purchase land formerly known as Singing Hills Country Club. Board President Dan Greenwell was the only vote in favor.
The vote followed a public hearing on the purchase, with community members asking why the purchase was being rushed. The board ultimately agreed that the recommendation for approval was brought forth very quickly, and that they should look into the land further before considering the purchase again.
“We’re not going to do anything for the next 5-7 years, so… there’s not that big of a sense of urgency with it,” Greenwell said. “So that’ll give us time to go back and look at things and see where we go from here.”
The $457,000 land purchase would be one of the first steps to building a larger elementary school.
Multiple owners have claimed the land over the past two decades. According to realtor Jason Geary, who was handling the sale, there’s been great demand for the land now due to the national housing shortage and the current needs of the school district to expand. He said that the property’s history may add challenges.
“It’s not what we call virgin ground, meaning that this land was developed at one point in time to serve a golf course need,” Geary said. “So there has been development in the past. Any time you look to develop a property that has been developed for a prior use, you have to really do your due diligence to make sure that you can go ahead and essentially redo the property.”
The school district is looking to build an elementary school that combines Nodland and Sunnyside Elementary Schools. Geary says breaking ground on that project is still years away.
“The land is likely going to have to be rezoned,” he said. “And the school district has already started the process of looking at that rezoning. Also, you’re going to have to sort out entrances and exits for the city. And then they’re also going to be going through and doing their environmental architectural studies about how the land needs to be graded.”
Any decision on the land purchase won’t come up before five newly elected members of the board are sworn in on Nov. 27.