Dubuque Community Schools leaders have revamped plans to bring additional parking spaces to Hempstead High School.
School board members on Monday tentatively approved plans and a cost estimate for a project that would add 41 parking spots at the West End high school. They also approved sending the project out for bids.
“This does show that we are doing something to alleviate problems as far as we can,” Board Vice President Jim Prochaska said.
Officials plan to add the parking spots in the green space near Pennsylvania Avenue and the school’s main entrance. Work is expected to start in June and wrap up in August.
Parking at Hempstead was particularly tight last year as construction of a new district pool took up 172 of the school’s 721 parking spots.
Now that the pool is completed, the school has regained 92 of those spots. District officials also have secured spots for students at nearby Usha Park and Dubuque Bible Church.
District officials originally planned a more extensive parking lot project, adding spots along the bus drive. However, that part of the project would have required the relocation of underground utilities and the addition of a detention basin, which drove up the estimated cost.
The trimmed-down parking lot project is expected to cost $170,000, according to Bill Burkhart, district buildings and grounds manager.
During the open forum portion of the board meeting, before the vote on the parking lot project, Marilyn Roth spoke on behalf of a group of residents who live near Hempstead. They said they continue to run into problems with students parking along the streets outside their homes.
“It’s gotten to be very, very disruptive,” she said.
Superintendent Stan Rheingans said he empathized with residents’ concerns and that officials have worked to add parking spots at Hempstead wherever possible.
“We are looking for opportunities to add parking as we can,” he said.
Also on Monday, board members voted to solicit bids for a project to add on to the Alta Vista Campus, creating a dedicated space for career and technical education classes.
The approximately 5,000-square-foot addition is expected to cost about $1.5 million and will include spaces for woodworking and construction classes, large-scale projects and the school’s makerspace.
“I think it’s very exciting for our students,” Chris Oberhoffer, the assistant principal who oversees the Alternative Learning Center, said prior to the meeting. “We’ve shown over the progression of exploring this opportunity that students are interested in this area, that the community has a large interest for students that have skills in this area.”
The project at the campus also will include security enhancements at the main entrance and a remodel of the main office space, Burkhart said.