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Emmetsburg is a community that takes immense pride in its schools and the accomplishments that have been achieved by its students through the years.


It’s imperative that investments continue to be made in our schools to allows ECSD to achieve its mission of:

  • Providing students with the highest-quality educational opportunities that prepare each student for their career path of choice.

  • Positioning the district to retain and attract top-quality educators and staff.

  • Providing students with a state-of-the-art learning environment through ongoing maintenance, facility upgrades, and technology infrastructure.


In a 2021 community questionnaire, respondents said that having high-quality facilities was one of ECSD’s biggest strengths and should be a priority in the future. Since then, members of the School Board and administrators have invested significant time evaluating the district's facilities. It has been determined that the facility with the most need for attention is West Elementary School.

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West Elementary School has successfully educated students for 70 years and has an enrollment today of 308. However, the school is facing more than $6 million worth of immediate facility needs. The list includes a mechanical retrofit to improve ventilation and air conditioning; updates to the safety system, fire alarms, and camera system; parking lot and drainage improvements; and updates to classroom finishes.

WES also has one of the smallest playgrounds in northwest Iowa for a school of its enrollment size.

Even if these issues were addressed, there would still be significant space needs at WES. There are also challenges related to student safety, parking, and drainage, among others. Having to make such improvements while students are attending WES would also cause dramatic interruptions to student learning.

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The West Facility Committee has recommended that ECSD pursue construction of a new 65,000-square-foot elementary school on a new site that would be home to grades PK-4. This would require a bond issue vote on November 5, 2024. The bond would need to be approved by at least 60% of voters.


A new elementary school site would also offer safe vehicular circulation, include a designed green space with a large playground area, and would not require significant student disruptions. A larger site would also present ECSD with future options for expansion that could include a 5th grade wing.

A significant and costly renovation would need to take place at West to address its current issues if this recommendation is not taken to voters in November.

If the new school is approved by voters and ultimately constructed, the existing West Elementary would undergo work to be repurposed into an Early Learning Center. Under consideration is the demolition of the building’s northern wing and the renovation of a portion of the classrooms to house children ranging in age from infants to four years old.


Maintaining daycare space is critical when it comes to attracting staff and young families to the community. ECSD and local businesses have lost potential candidates for open positions due to the community’s lack of daycare.


Under this proposal, ECSD would retain ownership of the Early Learning Center and the daycare space would be leased. The district would continue to maintain and use the school's gymnasium that was constructed in 2013.

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A significant amount of time and effort has been invested examining the challenges at West Elementary School and identifying potential solutions that will allow the district to provide a high-quality learning environment for generations to come.

In this video series, Superintendent Cory Jenness reviews the process that led to the district's decision to pursue the construction a new elementary school.

How Did We Get Here?

How Did We Get Here?

Watch Now
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There will be two elections this fall that are needed for the new elementary school project to move forward:

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One item on the ballot Tuesday, September 10:

  • Approval of the ballot question for the November 5 election.

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One item on the ballot Tuesday, November 5:

  • Approval of a general obligation bond for construction of a new elementary school.

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