We take a look at the growth of the Waukee Community School District and the upcoming second high school expected to be accepting students in the Fall of 2021.
This video was created in Partnership with the Waukee APEX Program. The story was conceived, shot, edited, and produced by APEX Associates Debashish Koirala and Ben Jordison.
Many people are curious what the mascot and school colors will be for the new high school in Waukee. To us, this shows the interest and investment our community has in our growing district.
People have moved to Waukee—in record numbers—for the exceptional education our staff provides and they’ve stayed because we’ve delivered on those expectations. A second high school will allow us to expand opportunities for all of our students and create spaces where new opportunities can be implemented.
Our leaders understand how fortunate we are to have the community’s support as we grow as a district. When we asked the community to vote on the bond referendum in 2018, it was passed at more than 90 percent. To us, this shows that our community is supportive of our decision to grow the school district into two high schools. Because the bond referendum passed, we are able to design a 21st-century facility that allows us to meet the current needs of students and educators.
After the completion of the Waukee Innovation & Learning Center in 2013, it was clear to us that students are learning in different ways than they did in the past, and educators are teaching in a different way—for the better. Most districts in the state are not building new facilities; instead, they have to be creative with the resources they already have with declining enrollments. We are taking a hard look at how we spend taxpayer dollars to make sure it’s in the best interest of our students and staff, to last long into the future of Waukee Community School District.
To circle back to the frequently asked questions about the mascot and colors, we will be working with current staff and key stakeholders to help us through these and all of the important decisions. We do not want to have a split district with an “us vs. them” mentality. Waukee is a tight-knit community, with our schools being the anchor, and we don’t want that to change. Engaging our staff from the beginning has been very beneficial in making decisions on classroom layouts, how we use the spaces in the new buildings, and resources we can provide to enhance learning. This has worked well for us in the past and will continue to build a sense of community and excitement for the new school. We are going to enjoy this journey and have some fun in the process, so stay tuned.
An official groundbreaking event for the new school was held on Dec. 11. We were proud to involve the entire community in the ceremonial groundbreaking. For more updates on the construction of the new high school, visit https://2ndhs.waukeeschools.org/.
Tell us about your family.
I live with my husband John; we have been married for six years. He is the youngest of six siblings, and I am the oldest of four. We enjoy spending time with our nieces, nephews and our extended family.
What do you do for a living?
I lead a department of three youth services staff who create and present all of the fun library programs for children and teens ages 0-18 and their caregivers. We spend a lot of time planning and preparing events that are fun and sneakily educational, and we make many outreach visits to area schools, preschools, and child-care facilities. I also enjoy working with our Teen Advisory Board and our other amazing teen volunteers. Additionally, I purchase all of the books, DVDs, STEAM kits and other materials for children and teens.
What do you think sets the Waukee Library apart from other metro-area libraries?
To me, two of the most exciting things about our library are our Digital Scholar program and our STEAM Library. Digital Scholar is a partnership with the Waukee schools that allows all Waukee students access to our online materials with their student ID numbers. Our STEAM Library offers a wide variety of educational items that all library cardholders can borrow for three weeks at a time. The most popular item is a Dash Robot. We also have a learn-to-knit kit, a keyboard, a telescope, a microscope, Little Bits, more robots, and several other items. This collection is growing all the time.
Any exciting winter programs you’d like to tell us about?
We have a Winter Reading Bingo challenge going on for all ages until the end of January. People can sign up on our website or stop into the library for a Bingo card. For special events, we have some new monthly programming for elementary students who are fans of the “I Survived” series, a new monthly Craft Lab and a Family Disney Fan Trivia fundraiser coming up on Feb. 2.
Any New Year’s resolutions you care to share with our readers?
Nothing too exciting—just trying to be more healthy!
Tell us about your family.
My family and I are originally from the Des Moines area, but we moved to Joplin, Missouri when I was in junior high. Now I’m back and proud to be an Iowan again! My grandpa, Paul Coggeshell, had a chiropractic clinic on the south side for many years—it’s surprising and heartwarming how many people recognize my last name and ask if there’s any relation. I am a spoiled only child and was raised by my wonderful mother, Micci Krause, who owns a thriving real estate company. Though it’s a bit of a trek from Joplin, my grandma and mom make frequent trips to visit me—and to go shopping at Jordan Creek.
What do you do for a living?
I’m the adult services librarian at the Waukee Public Library. I’m in charge of planning all of the adult programs as well as managing and developing the adult book collection. In short, I’m responsible for running all the fun events and buying all the books for our adult patrons. I’m also in charge of Lit+Fix—our personalized book selection service for busy caregivers and parents. Soon, I’ll have a hand in curating our library’s new art gallery, which is opening in the spring.
What do you think sets the Waukee Library apart from other metro-area libraries?
I think our library is set apart by the strong sense of community in Waukee. We serve one of the fastest growing cities in the metro, but our library offers a welcoming environment and friendly customer service that’s usually attributed to smaller towns. Library staff members really take the time to get to know our patrons and we pride ourselves on working together to meet the community’s needs.
Any exciting winter programs you’d like to tell us about?
I have so many great upcoming programs planned for adults! There will be classes on 5k Training and Disney Travel 101, a craft workshop on Beginner’s Knitting, an Herbal Tea: Mixology 101 class, and history talks on “Lessons from the Holocaust” by Brad Wilkening and “Buxton, Iowa: The Making of a One-Of-A-Kind Town” by Iowa author Rachelle Chase.
In March, we’ll kick off a new year of our Local History Series in partnership with the Waukee Area Historical Society with a presentation on “Minburn Singing Wheels” and our Lunch & Learn sessions in partnership with Waukee Parks & Recreation with an iPad Basics class.
Be sure to check out our website, give us a call or stop by the library to get all the details!
Any New Year’s resolutions you care to share with our readers?
My resolution is always to eat healthily (but save room for dessert), stay active and make some great memories.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Algona, Iowa.
Tell us a little about what you do.
I work as the Director of Communications for Waukee Community School District. My duties are varied, which is the best part. I get to interact with students, teachers, staff, and administrators to share the amazing stories that happen every day at Waukee. As the spokesperson, I handle all media inquiries, oversee social media, the website and all public relations activities and events. My day is anything but predictable, which is what I love most.
How long have you been with the Waukee Community School District?
I started my current position in October 2018.
The second high school recently had its groundbreaking. What are you most excited about as the district continues to grow?
As a parent of a student in the district and as an employee, I’m excited to see the growing number of opportunities for our students and staff. We’re one of two districts in the state that has added a high school in the past 45 years. The innovation and collaboration opportunities are endless with business partners, students, and staff. Waukee is preparing its students for a future with real-life experiences and opportunities. The time has never been better to be a part of our school district as an employee, community member, and parent.
Any New Year’s Resolutions you care to share with our readers?
I’m not a big resolution person, but I do try to reset any chance I get. Yoga is my go-to for centering and grounding. My husband and I have three young children— ages 9, 7, and 4—and we’re busy running from place to place with them. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but sometimes it’s important to slow down and enjoy the moment.
It’s no secret that economic development is booming in Waukee. In both 2016 and 2017, building permits issued by the City surpassed $200 million. And, commercial development in 2018 was the highest in Waukee history with more than $40 million in commercial projects recorded.
All of that commercial development generates excitement—and many comments from citizens. City staff members often hear questions like, “Where’s the Target?” and “Why are there so many fast food restaurants?” Waukee Community & Economic Development Director Dan Dutcher aims to answer the most commonly asked questions.
Dutcher has served in his position since 2013. The most important part of his job, he said, is making sure decision-makers know what sites and buildings are available in Waukee.
“We can direct them [those looking for properties] to the different sites and who owns them and what brokerage firms or real estate firms have them listed,” said Dutcher. “We try to provide information and be a liaison between the owners, the real estate community and the Waukee properties.”
So, does the Community & Economic Development Department simply order up whichever businesses Waukee needs? Not exactly.
“The City doesn’t own land for development, so it isn’t really up to us to control which businesses come to town. It’s the different landowners or developers who are bringing prospects to us,” Dutcher said. “We just try to make the process as easy and as time-efficient as possible.”
With that said, citizens may still wonder why certain businesses come to town and how the timing works out. Dutcher said there are typical economic development patterns often seen in communities experiencing fast growth, like Waukee.
“Usually the fast food restaurants come first. Then you’ll usually see limited-amenity hotels and sit-down restaurants,” Dutcher said. “We should start seeing more of the sit-down restaurants as the fast food market gets saturated. We’re already starting to see that progression with places like Central Standard and Gastro Grub & Pub. And, we’ll probably see more upscale, sit-down restaurants as time goes by.”
While Waukee residents clearly have more dining options and professional services available to them than in the past, Dutcher said retail is a more difficult addition right now, noting one popular store in particular.
“Adding a Target to the city is one of those things we don’t control,” Dutcher said. “Certainly the big-box retail market is going through upheaval right now. Target itself is building smaller stores, mostly in large cities. There are three Targets within a 10-mile radius of Waukee, so unless they close one of those, the likelihood of them coming here is pretty small.”
While a Target store is unlikely, construction will soon begin at the Apple Data Center site, and the Palms Theatres & IMAX will soon be open. Dutcher said Apple’s investment in the community is a huge win and that the addition of the movie multiplex will bring an exciting new source of entertainment to Waukee for residents and visitors alike.
“Having a theater of this size with an IMAX is certainly going to draw people to Waukee,” said Dutcher. “Fridley Theatres is providing cutting-edge amenities in their theater which I think is great to have in the western suburbs. We’re pretty excited about it.”
Another project for which Dutcher’s expertise is integral is the multi-use Kettlestone Development, which runs along Grand Prairie Parkway. Dutcher said he is pleased with the progress being made along that corridor.
“Kettlestone encompasses around 1,200 acres. That is a tremendous amount of land to develop over a short period of time,” said Dutcher. “We’re really on track and probably seeing a faster pace of development than I anticipated. We have Holmes Murphy, the Cove at Kettlestone and several other projects that are taking place. It has also seen a lot of residential development.”
Dutcher said he knows it can be challenging for people to keep up with all of the development going on in Waukee. He encourages people to visit Waukee.org/developmentprojects for a full list of projects currently in the planning and construction phases. A list of available properties ripe for development in Waukee can be found at Waukee.org/availableproperties.
In 2019, the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce will celebrate 20 years of fostering growth, professional development, and connections within the community. The anniversary will be celebrated with a dinner and silent auction in February.
Since its inception in 1999, the chamber has added 290 members to its roster—beginning with 40 and now boasting 330. Members include area businesses and organizations of all sizes, as well as individuals with a passion for promoting growth and prosperity in the community.
Melinda Behn, President of the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce, said the organization provides its members with opportunities to network, enhance their financial growth, participate in professional development and contribute to a thriving community.
“The Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce connects members to hundreds of companies throughout our region,” said Behn. “When a company joins the chamber, all employees gain access to our network of businesses and professionals from the area and Central Iowa region—through the Greater Des Moines Partnership.”
The Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce also offers members opportunities to develop business relationships and referrals, attend events such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and provide access to career and volunteer opportunities.
Members also can enhance their impact and presence in the community by attending meetings and events, sponsoring chamber events and joining and/or leading a committee.
Along with Behn’s leadership, the chamber is governed by a board of directors—business members from the community. Behn said each board member chairs a committee that, in collaboration with chamber committee members, is responsible for carrying out the chamber’s priorities.
The association’s committees include:
Membership: This group supports existing and new businesses. The committee hosts new membership welcome breakfasts twice a year and distributes the Waukee Chamber Monday Business Report—a newsletter with information about chamber happenings.
Community Development: This committee organizes and promotes the chamber’s annual dinner, as well as What’s Cookin’ in Waukee, the golf outing and Waukee Fall Harvest. It also coordinates the chamber’s participation in community-wide events such as Itty-Bitty Olympics at Celebrate Waukee.
Scholarship: A one-time annual scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior from Waukee High School who plans to attend an Iowa institution following graduation. This committee focuses on creating awareness of the scholarship and selecting the recipient.
Waukee YP: Waukee Young Professionals (Waukee YP) is a new committee that connects and provides growth opportunities for young professionals who work or live in the Waukee area.
Government Affairs: This committee serves as the legislative voice of the Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce membership. This committee stays up-to-date on legislative issues affecting businesses, participates in regional public policy meetings and events, and hosts election year forums. In the near future, the Waukee Chamber will partner with the metro’s west-side affiliate chambers to talk about the upcoming legislative session.
Economic Development: This committee organized the Sixth Annual Waukee Economic Development Bus Tour in September at Brick Towne at Kettlestone, off University. The tour showcased Waukee’s growing community by highlighting new development projects—such as the Holmes Murphy building off Grand Prairie Parkway and The Palms Theatre and IMAX venue off NE Westgate Drive.
Ambassadors: These are active members who help facilitate networking among members.
Paul Kerkhoff, owner of Kerkhoff Chiropractic, said the chamber has grown to be recognized as a premier professional business organization with ties that reach across the nation. “This involvement reaches international corporations as well as our state and national legislature. Being part of this organization brings our ideals and interests together for even greater opportunities for our future and generations to follow,” said Kerkhoff.
Don Frazer, owner of Heartland Co-op and a three-year chamber board member, said being a member has positively impacted his business. “The contact with other local business leaders has opened up additional opportunities,” he said. “The chamber has been an important part of the explosion of new businesses in Waukee, and growth is good for everyone.”
Both Frazer and Behn said one of the chamber’s biggest recent accomplishments is finding a new space for the organization to reside. Located at 208 W. Hickman Road in Waukee, the chamber has called their current location home for nearly two years. “The Board invested a significant amount of time in helping to locate the space, negotiate the lease and assist with the build out. We are truly fortunate to have so many wonderful people in our chamber who care about the future of Waukee,” said Behn.
The 2019 Waukee Chamber Annual Dinner and Silent Auction will provide a summary of 2018 accomplishments, a look at the year ahead, an introduction of the 2019 Board of Directors and recognition of the 2018 Member and Ambassador of the Year. The event will be held Feb. 21 from 5:00 – 9:30 p.m. at the Sheraton in West Des Moines.
For more information about the Chamber, visit https://www.waukeechamber.com.
With the constant construction and expansion going on in Waukee, it’s no surprise that a slew of new restaurants have popped up on this side of town. This past year saw a host of dining locations open their doors, providing a variety of new options for hungry residents. Here are a few new additions from the past year and a look at things to come!
If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier and get more fit, Smoothie King is here to help you reach your goal. With a stated vision of being an integral part of every health and fitness journey, Smoothie King’s offerings are designed to help you power through a workout, lose weight or unwind. The franchise, which began in 1989, has grown to over 800 locations worldwide, and the Waukee location opened this past year on the corner of University Avenue and SE Alice’s Road.
Smoothie King offers four different categories of smoothies: Fitness Blends, Slim Blends, Wellness Blends, and Take a Break Blends. All smoothies, regardless of category, are formulated and blended using the franchise’s “cleaner blending” philosophy, with an emphasis on more whole fruits and vegetables and fewer artificial additives. There’s no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors or preservatives in any of Smoothie King’s selections, and there’s no added sugar in more than 50 of their menu options. With a full roster of Kids’ Blends also available, the entire family can find something they like.
Customers can also add various enhancers to their smoothies. Enhancers include a “Super Grains” blend with essential amino acids, an “Immune Support” offering with additional vitamins and minerals, and a “Probiotic” option to support digestion and gut health.
For menu options and hours of operation, visit smoothieking.com.
Which Wich Superior Sandwiches
If your smoothie from Smoothie King hasn’t quite filled you up, head north just up Alice’s Road and grab a sandwich at Which Wich. This sandwich chain opened a location in Waukee this past year. From a Greek gyro to a Vietnamese cuisine-inspired banh mi sandwich, their menu spans a wide range of influences.
Their Signature Favorites include everything from the classic Philly Cheesesteak, to a Superfood Wich (featuring a vegan black bean patty and quinoa on a spinach tortilla) to a Brunchwich that includes rotisserie-roasted beef and lamb gyro slices and a sunny-side-up egg. Which Wich’s proprietary Wicked sandwich comes loaded with turkey, ham, roast beef, pepperoni and bacon—the customer then chooses three cheeses to add, along with any additional toppings.
Customers can also build their own sandwiches or choose a salad or wrap instead. With a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options also available, Which Wich caters to those with dietary restrictions as well. Their menu and hours of operation can be found online at whichwich.com.
Central Standard Burgers
Central Standard, which opened on University Avenue in July of 2018, is the second location of a restaurant that got its start in Bettendorf, Iowa, about five years ago. According to General Manager Andy Crounse, the restaurant was developed as an alternative to more traditional “cookie-cutter” burger joints.
Among the dozen or so burger options on the menu are the “Oh No,” with cheese curds and fried pickles, and the “Heck No,” with jalapeño poppers and ghost pepper cheese. The menu also includes other sandwiches like the PB & J (pork belly and jalapeño), and various mac and cheese selections. In addition to their non-traditional burgers, the restaurant is also well-known for its massive, creative shakes.
So if you’re in the market for a burger (and a shake) with a twist, give Central Standard a try. Their menu and hours of operation can be found online at centralstandardburgers.com.
The “R” in R Taco comes from founder Rusty Fenton, who opened the first Rusty Taco location in Dallas in 2010. The Tex-Mex chain arrived on University Avenue in West Des Moines earlier this year. R Taco’s specialty, as one might imagine, is authentic, Mexican street-style tacos, handmade and offered on corn or flour tortillas. With a wide variety of fillings available—BBQ brisket, Baja shrimp, fried chicken, and black beans, to name just a few—there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
R Taco also offers a selection of breakfast tacos, served all day. If you like a margarita with your tacos (always a delicious idea), the Rusty Margaritas—“always made with fresh lime juice and cheap tequila,” per their website—have you covered.
So if, like Fenton, your motto is, “Tacos are the most important meal of the day,” R Taco is your kind of place. Check out their menu and hours of operation online at rustytaco.com.
Chicago-style deep-dish pizza arrived in Waukee this past November with the opening of Rosati’s Pizza on SE Alice’s Road. Rosati’s, the first of which opened in Chicago in 1964, focuses on traditional, authentic Italian dishes made from Rosati family recipes that have been passed down through five generations of the family.
Their calling card, of course, is their Classic Chicago Pizza. “With a deep crust cradling the freshest ingredients in town, our deep dish sets the bar very high,” says Jeff Fournier, General Manager at the Waukee location.
Veggies are cut, mozzarella is shredded, dough is made and meats are prepped fresh every day at Rosati’s, says Fournier. This guarantees the quality of the final product.
If Chicago deep dish isn’t quite your speed, no big deal. Rosati’s has an abundance of menu options, ranging from pastas, sandwiches (like their popular Italian beef), desserts and a variety of side dishes. The location is “not just a pizza place, but a full Italian restaurant,” according to Fournier.
Rosati’s also features a full catering menu and can deliver anywhere in the Des Moines metro area. So the next time you have a craving for pizza—particularly if a thin, flatbread pizza just isn’t going to cut it—give Rosati’s a shot! Find their menu and hours of operation online at rosatispizza.com.
The slew of fast-casual favorites arriving in Waukee isn’t set to slow down anytime soon. Culver’s, B-Bop’s, and IHOP are all scheduled to open locations in 2019, providing even more dining options for residents. Keep an eye out for these in the coming year!
It’s the time of year when short sleeves are replaced by down jackets, which means we’re quickly entering the “cold and flu season.” While we tend to use cold and flu interchangeably, and they’re both respiratory illnesses that tend to surface at similar times, they’re actually separate illnesses caused by different viruses.
Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference based on symptoms alone. Cold symptoms are usually milder than those of the flu, and colds generally don’t result in serious health problems like the flu can.
A sore throat and runny nose are usually the first signs of a cold, followed by coughing and sneezing. Common colds are the main reason that children miss school and adults miss work. Adults have an average of two to three colds per year, and children have even more. Most people get colds in the winter and spring, but it’s possible to get a cold any time of the year.
Most people recover from a cold in about a week. Getting lots of rest and drinking plenty of fluids can help cold sufferers feel better. Over-the-counter medicines may help ease symptoms but will not make a cold go away any faster. Always read the label and use medications as directed. Talk to your doctor before giving non-prescription cold medicines to children, since some medicines contain ingredients that are not recommended for children. Antibiotics will not help you recover from a cold caused by a respiratory virus. They do not work against viruses, and they may make it harder for your body to fight future bacterial infections if you take them unnecessarily.
Viruses that cause colds can spread from infected people to others through the air and close personal contact. This can happen when you shake hands with someone who has a cold, or touches a surface, like a doorknob, that has respiratory viruses on it, and then touches your eyes, mouth or nose.
There are several ways you can reduce your risk of getting a cold:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash them for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Viruses that cause colds can live on your hands, and regular handwashing can help protect you from getting sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Viruses that cause colds can enter your body this way and make you sick.
- Stay away from people who are sick. Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold through close contact with others.
If you have a cold, you should follow these tips to help prevent spreading it to other people:
- Stay home while you are sick.
- Avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing or shaking hands.
- Move away from people before coughing or sneezing.
- A cough and sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away, or a cough and sneeze into your upper shirt sleeve, completely covering your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as toys and doorknobs.
This article was brought to you by :
Doctor Julianne Sarcone, ARNP
Mercy Clinics Family Medicine Waukee.
25 W. Hickman Rd.
Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce News
Waukee Hardware Anniversary Celebration
On Saturday, Sept. 29, Waukee Hardware Celebrated a Grand Re-Opening, 20-Year Anniversary of Ownership (by Geoff and Anne Warmouth) and 140-Year Anniversary of the Store’s Opening (in 1878)!
Waukee Hardware is located at 380 6th St. in Waukee.
Waukee Chamber September Non-Profit Roundtable Luncheon
Thank-you to the following Waukee non-profit organizations for presenting at the Sept. 27 Chamber Luncheon at the Waukee Community Center: Waukee American Legion, Waukee Area Christian Services, Waukee Area Historical Society, Waukee Betterment Foundation, Waukee Community Closet, Waukee Downtown Business Group, Waukee Family YMCA, Waukee Leadership Institute, Waukee Public Library Friends Foundation, Waukee Community Schools Foundation, The Brenton Arboretum, Goodwill of Central Iowa, ISU Extension and Outreach-Dallas County and the Rotary Club of Waukee.
Waukee’s Ninth Elementary School Under Construction
The Waukee Chamber Economic Development Committee toured Radiant Elementary during their Sept 26 committee meeting, followed by lunch at Panchero’s Mexican Grill in Waukee. Radiant Elementary is the Waukee Community School District’s ninth elementary school, and will open in the Fall of 2019.
Waukee Economic Development Bus Tour Thank-You
The Waukee Economic Development Bus Tour was held on Thursday, Sept. 13. The Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce filled four buses for the sixth annual event. The City of Waukee guided the hour-long tour showcasing development projects in Waukee. Hosting sponsor Brick Towne at Kettlestone provided a business after-hours event following the tour with beverages, networking and food from Marco’s Pizza and Which Wich Superior Sandwiches.
The Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee works in cooperation with the City of Waukee, Waukee Chamber members and others to promote economic growth in the Waukee area. Thank-you to our bus tour sponsors, including Access Systems, Ankeny Sanitation, City of Waukee, Denny Elwell Company, Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber Company, Landmark Development Services, Inc., Per Mar Security, State Savings Bank, University of Iowa Community Credit Union, Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce and West Bank! We appreciate all Waukee Area Chamber of Commerce members and guests for participating! Thank you to our Waukee 2018 Economic Development Bus Tour sponsors!