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Hunt Elementary Gets Ready to Welcome Students for a New School Year

Students attending Hunt A+ Arts Elementary School in Sioux City will return to class on August 23 in a brand-new building. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer toured the new facility that will be home to around 330 elementary and preschoolers.

Principal Cami Barker can’t wait to start the school year in a state-of-the-art facility.

“I have teachers who have been here for over 20 years. So, for them to be in a brand new building, and then also for our students and families to have a brand new building. It's, it's very, very exciting."

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Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer
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Hunt Elementary Principal Cami Barker shows off new black box room

Barker shows off some of the highlights of Hunt Elementary north of downtown Sioux City, including a black box room to help bring the arts focus of the school to students.

“Here, students can dance and do drama. We’re also going to hold after-school programs here.”

The new building also pays respect to the old, with a few historic pieces from the former school built back in 1906.

“These murals are from the original school.”

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Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer
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Hunt Elementary School Mural

Part of the original sandstone exterior now hangs over the lunchroom.

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Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer
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Hunt Elementary School Lunch Room

Director of Operations and Maintenance Tim Paul says the building project cost around $14.7 million with a total price tag of $20 million, including all of the furnishings. Most of the supplies were purchased before the cost increases of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer
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Sioux City Community School District Director of Operations and Maintenance Tim Paul

“It's all about the high fives that are going to be so important to these kids coming in on the first day of school and just being wild with this facility. So, we're so excited to get them in here to see what they can look forward to for the next few years while they're in their elementary career.”

For Principal Barker, education includes more than a new building with air conditioning and bright classrooms; the students matter most.

“Well, I think, first of all, no matter what space we're in, I hope that our kids leave here feeling valued and loved. I want this place to be a safe space for them.”

Director of Operations and Maintenance Tim Paul says the local-option sales tax helped pay for Hunt School. There are just two schools left to overhaul. Paul says the goal is to build a new building for Nodland and Sunnyside Elementary Schools in the Morningside area of Sioux City. Since the fall of 2019, Hunt students have attended class at Crescent Park. Paul says the fate of the building is up to the district’s board of directors. They could keep it or sell it.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.