The Iowa City Community School District is one of the state’s fastest-growing school districts, and its two high schools were feeling the pinch of ever-increasing enrollment. In 2013, the school board approved a facilities plan that committed the district to building a third high school.
Liberty High School, located on the southern edge of North Liberty at the intersection of Dubuque Street and North Liberty Road, is scheduled to open its doors to 1,000 students in the fall of 2017.
MMS Consultants, in partnership with SVPA Architects of West Des Moines, is providing surveying and civil engineering design services for the highly anticipated school.
The three-phase project at the 76-acre site will include the high school, parking, sidewalks, utilities, outdoor athletic venues, a bus barn and landscaping.
The size of the site is one of the project’s biggest challenges. The school district and community want a lot of features on the school’s campus, but about a quarter of the site is taken up by wetland and timber. Protecting those natural features is a point of pride for those involved with designing and building the project.
The wetland and timber are also some of the site’s best features. So the school building will be positioned so classrooms and the cafeteria can take advantage of the view.
An additional challenge is the change in elevation across the terrain.
Phase 1 is the school building and most of the parking. Phase 2 is the ball fields and additional parking. Plans will allow for a 500-student expansion, if and when needed, in Phase 3.
Phase 1 is scheduled to go to bid in February 2015, with construction starting in April 2015. Phase 2 plans should be finalized by March 2015. Construction of Phase 2 is dependent on funding, however.
MMS Consultants is providing concept development, topographical surveys, construction plans and specifications, storm-water calculations and construction administration. The firm, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015, also is working with the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County on traffic control around the school.
In addition, construction of the high school is spurring residential development around the site.