Iowa City Community School District to purchase Tyler Building on ACT campus

The Iowa City Community School District leaders approved a purchase agreement for $8.7 Million for the Tyler Building on ACT campus and property.


Gabby Drees

The ACT’s Tyler Building is seen in Iowa City on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. The Iowa City Community School District bought the building for $8.75 million.

Liam Halawith, News Reporter

Iowa City Community School District leaders unanimously approved a purchase agreement for the Tyler Building on the ACT campus in Iowa City at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The space would house the district’s learning staff for their preschool through 12th grade online academy, district professional development, and district technology staff. The district has long term plans to include a Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) center in the building as well.

The 83,000 square foot building, built in 1979, sits on 7.9 acres of land on the west side of the ACT campus. Per the agreement voted on by the ICCSD board on Tuesday, the district will pay $8.75 million for the 40-year-old building.

All six board present members voted in favor of the purchase agreement, with board member J.P. Claussen not in attendance.

The Iowa City Assessor listed the total value of the building as $5.365 million for 2022 which differs dramatically from the school district’s agreed purchase price of 8.75 million.

The district also signed a pre-closing occupancy agreement that would allow the district to move into the space next month, according to a press release from ACT Inc.

Board member Maya Pilcher Hayek showed concerns about the agreed upon price being over $3 million greater than the assessed value. She also questioned if the amount of space was needed.

Superintendent Matt Degner said the school board would not bring a recommendation for something they thought was exorbitant or a bad faith expense.

Duane Van Hemert, Former District Facilities Director who now works part time for the district, cited that in today’s market, it would cost almost $25 million dollars to build and that the purchase price was aligned with the private assessment done by the school district.

The district began looking for a building similar to this last fall. Board President Shawn Eyestone said the district has been looking at several other buildings that would only partially fulfill the district’s need for a multi-purpose educational space, but the Tyler Building better fit the district’s needs.

Van Hemert reported the condition of the building to the board on Tuesday as well-constructed and in good condition.

“There’s nothing about this building that gives me heartburn,” Van Hemert said.

ACT recently put $7 million in renovations into the building, replacing the roof within the last 5 years, Van Hemert said.

However, Van Hemert said the building needs another passenger elevator and additional slight improvements to meet the needs for the district’s operation. The future cost of renovations is not known at this time.

The district has the ability to withdraw their agreement at any time before the closing date at the beginning of August.

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