Residents and business owners in the neighborhood known as “College Hill” around the Malcom Price Lab School near the U.N.I. campus in Cedar Falls are watching and waiting to see what happens after the school is closed. The Board of Regents approved U.N.I. President Ben Allen’s recommendation to close the teacher-training school on June 30th to save money.
Christopher Martin is president of the College Hill Partnership, a non-profit group that promotes the area. “There’s still a lawsuit that’s pending so I’m not exactly sure what that will mean in a practical sense,” Miller says. “What we do know about the hill is that there’s a major institution on the hill — Price Lab School — that won’t be there any more. There’s over 300 hundred students that aren’t gonna be there and dozens and dozens of employees. So,for any neighborhood to lose a major institution like that, we kind of take a hit.”
The last day of school was Tuesday. For businesses, the university is still operating and bringing people to the area, but Martin says the school was a draw as people looked for a place to live in the area.
“It does make a difference in terms of the neighborhood, in terms of the people who live in the neighborhood. I mean, there was a school where kids could walk or ride their bikes to and that won’t exist any more,” Martin says. Martin says they will be watching to see what happens with the facility once the closure is complete.
“Going forward the partnership will I imagine at some point be in discussion with the university, in fact we have university representatives in our organization. We haven’t heard anything yet from the university what will happen,” according to Martin. “I know at this point they are looking to tag property inside the school and eventually liquidate that. As far as alternate consequences for the building, we don’t know yet.”
Martin and the other parents are making plans for their kids for the next school year. “At this point most of the parents have registered their kids with other schools. A number of parents, including myself, will have our kids go to the local Cedar Falls schools that we will be a part of,” Martin says. “A number of parents have actually decided to take their kids north of Cedar Falls to Janesville, because they like the size of that school.”
Martin says there was a big gathering of everyone with a lot of mixed emotions on the last day of school. “There was you know, both happiness to see everyone, but also a lot of sadness. It felt like the end of an era for a lot of people,” Martin says.
The Iowa Senate approved a measure that would have provided three-million dollars to keep the K-12 school open one more year, but that provision was taken out by the House and never made it back in the legislature’s final appropriations bill.