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End of an Era for Sioux City School Building After 113 Years

Fifth grade teacher Josh Steinhoff packed up his classroom at Hunt Elementary on Thursday.  A final few moments in a classroom where he spent nine years.

Credit Siouxland Public Media
Teacher Josh Steinhoff

“It’s difficult something that’s been here for some long.  Moving forward it’s going to make it different, but I think we’ll see a lot of positive changes as well.”

Students left the day before, linking hands and hugging the long-time learning center under the watch of Principal Cami Barker, who says it was a day of mixed emotions.    

Credit Sioux City Community Schools
Last Day of School at the Old Hunt Elementary School on May 29, 2019

“It was an exciting day for students, but also sad.  It was a bitter sweet day for the staff, students and community.”  The kids were excited for summer to start but also sad to see the building gone,” said Principal Barker.

“Hunt has been a place basically like home.  It’s been a great place for me and my wife a lot of our life has revolved around Hunt.  We live in the community, we are invested in that community and we are invested in the community and it’s a big deal to us.”

The old Hunt Elementary served students near 20th and Nebraska in the heart of Sioux City since 1906, if you do the math that’s 113 years.

Credit Siouxland Public Media
Principal Cami Barker

“I love that it’s a two-story building.  A place full of character.  They had these old murals that crews came in today and drilled out for the new building.  There’s just a homey feel to these big, old buildings.  This is a building that some of our staff has worked in for years but they’re also very excited for students to have a new facility to call home,” said Principal Barker.

The new school is expected to open in the fall of 2022.

“One big thing we’re not handicapped accesible.  It’s very worn mand we don’t have the technology and the air conditioning.   think it will improve the learning of our students and they really need that.”

Principal Barker also says the new facility will hold about two-hundred more students than the 340 who attended Hunt this past school year.

“We are kind of on top of each other.  Our title teachers share rooms.  We all share this office space.  Our instructional assistants teach in hallways and you have students and classes walking by.  It’s hard to keep levels of engagement.  I have never worked with a staff that cares so much about kids.  They love the community.  We are excited to have a building to serve our students.“

Students at Hunt Elementary will attend Crescent Park Elementary until their school’s ready to go.  However, teacher Josh Steinhoff won’t be there, at least at first.   He’s taking a year-long leave of absence.

“I'm giong to pursue a Master’s Degree in Physical Education.”

Steinhoff hopes to return to Hunt as a P.E. teacher and potentially a coach at North Middle and North High, two feeder schools for Hunt.

“I have a strong desire to see Hunt students succeed in life."

And, for those passionate about education, Hunt Elementary transcends physical walls.

“Hunt is great, I enjoy working with the parents.  It’s a great place to be."

The new Hunt Elementary will span a couple of blocks with a parking lot to the south.  The city will also close 20th Street to allow for more space for the new facility.