Mid-Prairie School District moving forward with looking into possibly occupying portion of Shiloh property

KALONA — The Mid-Prairie Community School District has taken an interest in possibly occupying a portion of the 90,000 square foot building on the Shiloh property for a possible preschool, day care and fifth-year senior program.

“This is Chapter 1 of a book. We’re not done,” said Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh during a special meeting held on Thursday, July 11. Community members and local business people were invited to the property for a workshop session to discuss possible options for the property. Schlabaugh said representatives from Carl A. Nelson & Company as well as Shive-Hattery, an architectural and engineering firm based in Cedar Rapids, have toured the property.

Code compliance, ensuring the building would be able to pass an inspection should they choose to move forward with looking into a day care or preschool option, was one point of contingency. Schlabaugh said the school district was on board to explore the possibility and upon inspection, Shive-Hattery employees feel the proper work can be done and are comfortable keeping the idea on the list as a possibility.

The school district is also looking into the possibility of adding a fifth-year senior program onto the property. The program would be for special-needs students who graduate from the district, but need assistance with life skills and job assistance.

One element that could work would be a day program and another would be a living arrangement. On the main level, there are 13 living spaces ranging from studio apartments to a three-bedroom apartment.

“Those have public purpose that might align itself with the school district to be able to come in and work with a private partnership to a company that would provide those services through Medicare, Medicaid for those special needs students as they transition out of school, to be able to be engaged,” he said.

The closest available facility of this kind is in Cedar Rapids, making this possibility beneficial for the city, he said. Code compliance review has been done and is looking promising.