Glenwood Community School District Targets GRC Administration Building

Glenwood Resource Center Administration Building.

The Glenwood Community School District is currently in discussions with the state to assume ownership of the Glenwood Resource Center’s administration building when the campus closes its doors next summer.

In an update at last Monday’s regular Board of Education meeting provided by Glenwood Superintendent Dr. Devin Embray, the district plans to assume ownership of the building and renovate it to become the new central office and the district’s planned innovation center. The building is located at 104 Lacey Street on the GRC campus.

“Where we stand right now is they (the state) are continuing to shut down buildings on the hill in preparation for the state to exit in June of 2024 and we have asked for the administration building,” Embray said. “We are in the process of making plans to get into that building some time next year, do renovations and open our innovation center in the fall.”

The GRC is scheduled to shut its doors June 30, 2024.

The district’s current central office along with its daycare program, Kids Place, are currently housed on the GRC campus.

The innovative center is part of the district’s proposed career pathways initiative to offer programming not currently offered within the four walls of the high school. Areas of study would include robotics, digital mass communications, cybersecurity, precision agriculture and firefighter/EMS.

In July, the district contracted with Dr. Janeice Garrard and her JG Consulting and Publication, LLC to assist with their strategy to open the innovation center.

Now that the district has locked in on where that facility will be located, securing the property is a priority.

Embray said the state has offered to give the building to the district free and clear, but he hasn’t seen anything “official” yet.

“We’re still planning on that. I think the intent is for us to be gifted the building to put those operations in that building as they go through their process, but nothing has been finalized.”

If the property transfer goes through, the district intends to open the innovation center in the Fall of 2024. Two of the five areas of study would be offered initially. Embray added the district won’t need a large leadup for renovations to open the facility next fall.
“We would like to do some modifications to space in the building so we can have bigger spaces for the program to start,” he said. “It’s not a necessity for the program to start but it would it be nice to have that remodeling done. We’re not talking major remodeling. We’re talking moving some walls that aren’t structural for our bigger labs.”

But what the district will need is funds to staff, equip and yes, renovate the facility. The state is not providing any funds for renovations to the building.

Embray said the district is in the process of applying for a $1 million grant from the Iowa Department of Education’s Career Academy Incentive Fund. Glenwood is partnering with Iowa Western Community College on the grant.

“We’re applying now, and we’ll hopefully know before Christmas if we’re awarded that grant,” he said. “And that will cover renovations and equipping the rooms.”

In July, East Mills’ Southwest Iowa Technical Career Hub (SWITCH) and its partners at Iowa Western Community College received their own $1 million grant from the same fund. That career training center, located at the current East Mills Elementary School will provide technical training for students in the East Mills and several other southwest Iowa school districts and is slated to open in the Fall of 2024 as well.

In a previous interview, Embray called Glenwood’s innovative center a “complimentary program, not a competitor,” to East Mills SWITCH center.

For now, Embray said, the district is operating under the premise the administration building will soon be in district hands.

“We’re hoping to know about the building soon,” he said. “We’re optimistic. Our conversations have been positive about us taking on the building. We’re moving forward with that intention to be able to open. All of our programming and staffing and our partners at Iowa Western are all moving forward.”

The Opinion-Tribune

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