6668bac9f04b4533cc7501b1 Cedar Rapids Arthur

Cedar Rapids (Iowa) district is selling 2 elementary schools that just closed

June 11, 2024
Plans call for Arthur and Garfield elementary buildings, both more than 100 years old, to be repurposed for community use.

The Cedar Rapids (Iowa) district has closed two of its oldest school facilities and plans to sell both of them.

The district says that Arthur and Garfield elementary schools, named for the 20th and 21st U.S. presidents, opened in 1915 and welcomed students for the final time earlier this month.

The board has agreed to sell Arthur Elementary School to the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy (EIAA), a local nonprofit dedicated to providing equitable arts experiences for all ages and abilities.

The district plans to enter into a 10-year partnership for EIAA to offer additional free arts programming in Cedar Rapids schools, supplementing existing art, music, and physical education classes. The EIAA plans to repurpose Arthur Elementary and create studio rental spaces for local artists and arts classroom spaces.

"This move will allow us to accommodate more art and music students, reach more underserved children with financial aid and transportation, and provide our families with more access to food and clothing," said Heather Wagner, EIAA executive director. "The new space will also be transformed to provide better accessibility to our students with disabilities."

The Garfield Elementary building is to be sold to Steve Emerson, a local developer. He plans to transform the building into several apartments and a community space. Emerson has done similar projects in the community, including at the district’s former administrative building.

As part of the proposed agreement, Cedar Rapids high school trade classes will be able to help renovate the building.

A public hearing on the proposed sales and repurposing of the buildings has been scheduled for June 24.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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