What are IKM-Manning’s most pressing facility needs at this time?

The IKM-Manning Community School District has a number of facility needs we must address soon. These include the following:


Safety & Security:​

  • Currently, neither of our school buildings have secure access control 

  • Many spaces and classrooms are not  ADA accessible


College & Career Readiness

  • Our Career Technology, Agriculture and Industrial Technology classes and programs are growing, but lack the space, equipment and resources to fully support all students

  • We do not have enough space or educational resources to accommodate 21st century learning opportunities

  • Our average general classroom size is 15%-30% smaller than recommended standards


Long-Term Investments:

  • It has become no longer cost effective to keep fixing old and outdated infrastructure 

  • HVAC systems throughout most of our spaces need replacement


Why is the Board of Education moving forward now?

The district and board remain focused on preparing students for the career and educational opportunities of the future. As we do this, we must address a number of facility-related challenges to make sure our students have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive in the 21st century.


In moving forward now, the district and board are working to protect the assets of the school district—including its buildings and facilities. 


It is also worth noting that interest rates remain at historic lows at this time. If we move forward now, we can take advantage of these low rates, significantly reducing the total cost of the proposed projects. Construction costs are also expected to rise in the future, making the need to act now even more important. 


Will the community get to vote on this?

Yes, the Board of Education has placed a bond issue question on the ballot for Tuesday, September 14, 2021. All residents who live within the boundaries of the IKM-Manning Community School District may cast their ballot in this election.


Which projects would the bond issue fund?

The Board of Education is proposing a project with a scope of about $19,950,000. If approved, it would include the following:


Facility Improvements:

  • Irwin Elementary would remain open for the foreseeable future 

  • New ADA restroom improvements at Irwin Elementary  

  • New middle school addition, with new STEM, SPARK, science classrooms, maker spaces, library, activity commons, gym and locker rooms 

  • Renovation of existing middle school spaces 

  • Renovations at the high school, including career and technical education, agriculture and general classrooms, restrooms and a new media center. Possible renovations in the band, vocal and art classrooms as well as gymnasium and locker rooms 

  • Consolidating district administration into one location 

  • New roofing over the MS/HS  

  • Beginning of a long-term district wide maintenance plan


HVAC/Electrical Improvements:

  • Upgraded HVAC systems at the  MS/HS building and Irwin Elementary 

  • Restroom renovations at the MS/HS building and Irwin Elementary


Site Improvements:

  • New bus loop and additional parking on the north side at Manning

  • Playground improvements at Irwin Elementary 


Safety & Security Improvements:

  • New fire alarm and sprinkler system at the MS/HS building 

  • Improved accessibility at  Irwin Elementary

  • Creation of a single-point secure entryway with controlled access into the school at the MS/HS building

Important Note: With this proposal, the Irwin building remains a critical piece of the school infrastructure and is needed to have enough classroom space to serve students across the district.

Would Irwin Elementary remain open?

Yes. With this proposal, the Irwin Elementary building remains a critical piece of the district’s infrastructure. In fact, the school is much needed so that we have enough classroom space to serve students across the district.


If the bond is approved, the district would make improvements to Irwin Elementary’s HVAC systems while also renovating restrooms (to meet ADA/accessibility standards) and the playground.


How would an approved bond issue affect property taxes?

If approved, the bond would have a tax rate impact of an additional $9.88 per month ($0.33/day) on a home with a $100,000 assessed value. For agricultural properties, the impact would be between $2.63 and $3.16 per acre annually, depending on the location of the property. 


The district and board aim to keep property taxes as low as possible in our community. We have worked to balance the needs of our students and schools with those of our community members. We strive to make the most of every dollar community members invest in their local schools. 


The district and board have been frugal with taxpayer dollars over the years. However, the time has come to make an investment in our facilities to protect our district assets for the long term.


Residents can learn more about calculating the bond’s tax impact by visiting  


Was the community a part of developing this proposed solution?

Yes. Community members had an opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback through a recent survey. About 81 percent of respondents indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed that the district should address its most pressing facility needs as soon as possible.  


Why do we need an additional gymnasium?

IKM-Manning continues to fall behind our neighboring school districts and state standards when it comes to space in nearly every category, including physical education at our middle and high school. 


In Manning, our single gym must serve more than 435 students. This lack of space prohibits flexible scheduling and limits the classes our students can take. State standards call for a second gym for a school of this size. 


Additionally, the weight room mezzanine does not work well for shared use with the gym. There is a need for an audible separation from the gym in this space.


Why isn’t a new school part of the proposal?

Building a new school was one of several options under consideration. However, the district would not be able to bond for the amount of money needed to build a new school at this time. The district would also have difficulty finding land to purchase for a new school. 


The board was able to propose a much more cost-effective solution through adding to and renovating our existing facilities, rather than building new. 


Why is the district keeping Irwin Elementary open instead of consolidating all schools to one location?

While the board explored moving all schools to one location in Manning, the cost to build adequate classrooms and other spaces—while shifting all the functions currently provided by Irwin Elementary to a new location—was not a feasible option given the available funds.


The board also expressed interest in dividing the available funds across as many grade levels as possible. The proposed plan does just that, with projects targeted toward improvements that will benefit elementary, middle, and high school students alike.


Why does the proposal emphasize general, vocational, and industrial tech classroom improvements (including isolating smells and sounds) over locker rooms, art, and band/vocal classrooms?

In IKM-Manning, we aim to promote 21st century learning to prepare our students for life beyond graduation, whether that means entering college or embarking on a wide range of career opportunities. Currently, we do not have the adequate space or educational resources to accommodate new and emerging practices in this area.


Our Career Technology, Agriculture, and Industrial Technology classes and programs are highly popular and will continue to grow. However, we lack the space, equipment, and resources to fully support all the students preparing to enter the future workforce and become career-ready upon graduating from high school.


The proposed new additions and renovations would include new and expanded classrooms and spaces for STEM, SPARK, FIRE, science, and art classes. Improvements would be made to limit sound and smell transmission between classrooms—particularly between family and consumer science, band, vocal, gym, and adjacent classrooms.


Although improvements to locker rooms, the auditorium, and band, vocal, and art rooms are vitally important to provide a well-rounded education and offer extracurricular opportunities, the limited funds available have meant placing a higher priority on addressing core academic and vocational classrooms.


What are the specific improvements the district would make in the area of career and technical education?

If the bond is approved, the district would make a series of improvements to our industrial technology classrooms and spaces, including:

  • A new ramp or lift for accommodating accessibility needs

  • New paint on walls and exposed structure

  • Expansion of finishing room and possible addition of a new paint booth

  • New automatic overhead garage door opener

  • Provisions added to limit smells and sounds migrating to adjacent spaces

  • Demolition of existing storage furniture and renovation of tool crib room; addition of a new tool and equipment storage system

  • New and more vocational training tools and equipment

  • HVAC and ventilation upgrades

    • Replacement of exhaust fan for general ventilation

    • New exhaust/ventilation for finishing room and new exhaust/ventilation for welding and heavy equipment

    • Replacement of unit heaters

    • New dust collection system

  • New group sink

  • Potential new restroom plumbing fixtures

  • New eye wash/shower


Proposed improvements to the family and consumer science/food lab classroom include:

  • New configuration of countertops, cupboards, and cabinets

  • More storage room in cabinets

  • New commercial cooking equipment and commercial dishwasher

  • New sinks and other fixtures

  • New commercial grade prep tables

  • New finishes including flooring and paint

  • New HVAC and cooking ventilation systems


How would the projects address special needs and accessibility in both buildings?

The proposed addition to the middle and high school building includes adding to or renovating four full-sized special education classrooms and an additional guidance counselor office. Funds would also be set aside for new furniture and equipment for these spaces.


The improvements to Irwin Elementary include the complete demolition and reconstruction of the main-level restrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Considering that the cafeteria is on the lower level, new policies are being drafted to accommodate accessibility needs by allowing full classes to use the gymnasium during lunch and other group and individual events as necessary.


The Irwin Elementary playground would also be renovated with a new ground plane surface, allowing wheelchair access and meeting other general accessibility requirements.


d leave it with the officials. More information on these opportunities will be available soon.


Why are we voting on this in September rather than November?

In placing the question on the September 14 ballot, the board aimed to provide the community with a simple election day process, rather than having the bond issue compete with other items on the ballot in November. 


Additionally, the district and board aim to move as quickly as possible on the proposed projects, considering the ever-increasing cost of construction and the need to make facility improvements soon.

Does the district have a long-term plan for its facilities?

Yes. In recent years, the IKM-Manning Community School District has established a long-range facility plan to identify the current and emerging needs in our school buildings, along with how we can best prioritize addressing those needs. 

This plan has allowed the district and board to take a proactive approach to our facilities, rather than simply repairing items and equipment as they break. The proactive approach saves the district money, allows our buildings to run more efficiently, and protects the investments our community has made in our schools over the years.