Cedar Rapids Schools Closing Taft, Harding Middle School Domes

Taft Middle School DomePhoto: Iowa's News Now, KGAN

(Cedar Rapids, IA) -- The Cedar Rapids Community School District is temporarily closing the domes at both Taft and Harding Middle Schools. Engineers have found additional structural issues and are recommending the district close the domes until further repairs can be made.

“Today’s investigation revealed additional damage, which was not seen on our visual evaluation underneath the steel supports,” says Chad Schumacher, Director of Operations at CRCSD. “In addition, as we move into the winter months, the extra weight of snow and ice on the domes would put more stress on the beams, causing things to shift and move. Knowing this, we are taking precaution in closing all four domes.”

CRCSD will suspend the use of the dome areas by students, staff, athletic teams, and community groups until further notice. These new closures will impact the west dome of Taft Middle School, which houses the gymnasium. The east dome was already closed October 11th. At Harding Middle School, both domes will close, which affects the cafeteria, kitchen, performing arts classrooms, and gymnasium.

CRCSD is working to acquire portable buildings for Taft Middle School to provide additional classroom space. Classrooms will be rearranged at Harding for lunch, performing arts, and PE classes. Space for gym activities and practices, will be determined and communicated by each school’s principal in the coming days.

Taft and Harding's 7th-grade boys basketball games are canceled October 24th.

“Our engineers and architects are developing a comprehensive repair plan for all four of the domes, and we will be working in conjunction with the consulting teams to ensure these repairs are made as swiftly and effectively as possible while maintaining the highest safety standards. I want to thank our families and staff for adjusting quickly and for their understanding as we all work together to support our students during this time,” adds CRCSD Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover.

Taft Middle School and Harding Middle School were both built in 1965 and share the same structural design. Harding and Taft are currently the district's largest middle schools, housing 730 and 578 students, respectively.

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