Local Option Sales Tax Pays For New Grant Wood Elementary

Jul 20, 2017

City officials, school administrators and students gathered Thursday to celebrate the start of construction of a new Grant Wood Elementary school.

The pre-k through 5th grade elementary school in Bettendorf is the first in the district to be replaced and its made possible by the local option sales tax for schools.

WVIK's Mariah Woelfel has more.

7-year-old Haley Duke is excited for one thing about the new school:

"The new playground. It looks like it has a zip-line and it has three see-saws," she said Thursday at the school's groundbreaking.

The adults, though, are excited about a sort of indoor playground they call the "innovation spine."

Kids, city officials and school administrators shovel ceremonial dirt to celebrate construction of the new Grant Wood elementary school.
Credit Mariah Woelfel/WVIK

"It's a place for students to use their hands and test theories and build models," said Patrick Brosnan, president of the architecture firm that designed the new school. "So it's kind of messy, dirty types of spaces that need hand-cleaning and access to sewage and water and things like that so it becomes almost like a laboratory."

Principal  John Cain says the "innovation spine" is one example of how the school will be able to better accommodate 21st century students.

"The current building just does not have that space," he said. "The current building was designed in the 1950s and education has changed drastically in the last 70 years or so."

The new Grant Wood school, set to open in the fall of 2018, will also include a 6,000 square-foot gym and bigger classrooms, allowing for 100 more students to enroll.

Cain says he's grateful his school is the first in the district to be replaced, but that he hopes rennovations continue for other Bettendorf elementary schools. 

At the groundbreaking, he emphasized the important of the local option sales tax, which gives schools one cent for every dollar spent in Scott County, and $700 per student. 

The local option sales tax legislation expires in 2029.