MUSCATINE, Iowa—Once Muscatine Community School District announced they would move sixth grade students to the elementary schools in 2019, McKinley began planning for a new addition to accommodate them and provide better facilities for all of their students. Less than a year after construction began, work at McKinley has finished. To celebrate the opening of their new addition, the school hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 27.
McKinley’s addition featured the construction of four new classrooms, allowing three first grade classes to move into them and free up space for sixth grade classes, as well as a dedicated music room. The addition also features a larger gym, making it easier to hold all school assemblies. Along with the classrooms, McKinley also added a new, secure office area, allowing office staff to check in visitors in an area separated from the rest of the school. A new conference room will make it easier for teachers and administrators to comfortably meet with families.
Outside the new addition, McKinley completely redesigned their parking and pick up area, easing traffic congestion and parking difficulties. Traffic backups between McKinley and West Middle School initially raised concerns when MCSD opted to move sixth grade students to the elementary schools, but McKinley’s fully reconfigured traffic flow addresses many of the issues raised.
The evening of the ribbon cutting ceremony, McKinley Principal Joelle McConnaha shared her delight in the opening of the new addition, “It’s actually one of the best weeks,” she beamed, elaborating that students loved their new rooms. “The best thing is having a bigger space for learning. I’m very thankful to the school board and families for making that happen.”
Muscatine Mayor Diana Broderson and school board member John DaBeet also shared their enthusiasm for the new addition following the ceremony. “As a city, we think this is a wonderful addition and it has relieved a lot of traffic congestion on Kindler,” said Broderson, who knew about previous issues from when her granddaughter went there. “We love it—we think the students love it and the families will have fun seeing their children learn here,” she added.
As a parent of two current McKinley students and as one of the first school board members to begin working on the plans for the addition, DaBeet felt very proud of what the school accomplished and excited about the possibilities the space will offer for the whole community. “The most important thing as a board member is this facility is a great addition for not only McKinley but for the school district,” he explained. DaBeet also celebrated that the work at McKinley represented a positive collaboration between the city, school district, and wider community.
With the opening of McKinley’s new addition, students, teachers, and staff look forward to the new opportunities it offers. McKinley’s new addition also marks the first of several MCSD building projects that will wrap up this year, including Muscatine High School’s STEM wing and updates to Muscatine Community Stadium.