Bettendorf students, parents get first look at Mark Twain North, the temporary school at Ross College | Local News

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Teachers at Mark Twain Elementary School North — the campus at Ross College — have been putting together the classrooms that will be home to them and about 300 students for the first half of the school year while construction of the new Mark Twain is completed.

As a number of the teachers continued to work Tuesday evening, students from second to fifth grades and their parents toured the classrooms and playground during an open house at the renovated facility, located at 2009 Kimberly Road.

Many parents walked through with their children, asked a few questions and were off.

Others stayed to get a better view of what is going on.

Michelle Miranda has a son going into second grade.

“I wanted to get a visual of how crowded it’s going to be,” Miranda said. “That’s the only negative thing.

“The teachers seem positive and they are excited and they know it’s for only a short time,” she said. “It seems clean, so I think it’s probably going to be alright, so for the short time it’s going to be fine.”

One of the more popular rooms belongs to fifth-grade teacher Myka Walljasper who decorated her classroom in just about everything Harry Potter.

She was missing a sorting hat, but that, she said will wait.

On Wednesday, Aug. 21, the students will have “Unpack Your Backpack” night. Parents who are hooked into the district’s online portal can find out who their children’s teacher will be on Monday.

Meredith Vanderginst has two children in Mark Twain this year, one in fifth grade and one in fourth grade.

Vanderginst was among a number of parents who voiced that they were pleasantly surprised at the facility.

“I think it’s nice,” Vanderginst said. “I think it will be fine for four months. In the long term I don’t think it will be great but, just the outdoor aspect that was the only concern. No real playground.

“I definitely think the classrooms are nice and the seating is nice and it’s bright and there are plenty of emergency exits,” she said.

James Davis and his son Jaden, 10, just relocated from Wellington, Florida, so this is all new to them and it is a concern.

“It does concern me,” Davis said. “We just moved here. His home school was Grant Wood and so when we found out we were earmarked for Mark Twain I’m not a happy camper especially after having relocated. I want him to be able to go to a school and meet friends that live in the neighborhood so that when he gets out of school there are things for him to do outside of the home.

“Now, he’s going to be meeting kids but they won’t be in the neighborhood,” Davis said. “So that’s just a lot of pressure for a kid who has moved from Florida to Iowa and is transitioning.”

Jaden, however, loves basketball so Davis said getting him involved there will be a big help.

There were some in the crowd who voiced concern about the restrooms, with the temporary facilities located outside, but there are some indoor facilities, too. Other parents wanted to make sure of dining arrangements, and were told the children would get their lunches from the kitchen and eat in the classrooms. The playground also was a concern for some parents who voiced concern about the fenced-in area.

But the kids found the sand boxes and quickly congregated there to play until rounded up by parents.

Bettendorf School District spokeswoman Celeste Miller said there will be playground equipment coming for the area.

“These first four months will be inconvenient, but when the new school is completed and everyone is together it will be an awesome learning environment,” Miller said. “The parents will be really happy with the new school, but in the meantime these four months give the construction company the time needed to focus on the new Mark Twain and get it right.”

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