March 2023 Project Update

It is no secret that the Elma Community Complex (ECC) Project has been a rollercoaster ride for the past five years, but we are excited to share some progress and hope you will join us on Friday, March 10th at our Annual Fish Fry that benefits this project.

This weekend volunteers were busy moving equipment into the new day care infant room because on Monday, March 6th staff and infants will finally get to put it to use!!! Then later this month the old infant room and existing toddler room with get updates of new flooring, painting and cupboards. Work has begun on the east and south main entrances to the ECC. In the spring new gutters will be installed and landscaping along with the installation of shutters, brick and murals (from the former elementary school) will be displayed on the outside of the Complex to finish the exterior of the building. The final phase of the ECC is renovating restrooms in the hallway of the ECC. All has been done in phases as funding allows..Funds are still being raised for the final phase and volunteers held a Fish Fry on Friday March 10th at the Elma Memorial Hall.

Impact on the Community

The initial project included deconstruction of a former brick school building and the renovation of the former elementary school gym into a new library, new city clerk’s office, community room and kitchen. The other parts of the project were a new rural medical clinic built across town from the ECC and has been in operation since January of 2020. The Community Room with full kitchen has been in use since 2021, the new library has been open since September 2022 and the city clerk moved into her new office in January 2023.

The new rural medical clinic has been well received by local residents including the Mennonite community. The clinic increased it’s hours shortly after opening to meet the demand. Regional Health Services of Howard County operates the Elma Medical Clinic and provides a variety of family care services which include physicals, prenatal care, acute visits, lab services, and well child checks.

With the larger infant room at the Elma Early Childhood Center they will be able to increase their capacity to serve infants and have a room to use for a three year old preschool which will also double as an overflow room for older children after school, during school days off or during the summer.

The Elma Public Library has increased traffic in the new location. The library has coordinated with other organizations for new programming. The new medical clinic worked with the library to run a six week series on health related topics in the community room, the library connected with the Elma United Methodist Church and the Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging (NEI3A) to hold monthly bingo for the community. The NEI3A also brings in a speaker who discusses issues pertinent to seniors and they also provide a healthy lunch for a small fee. Helping Services comes once a month to do a learning story time with local children under 5 years old. The library began a new after school STEM program that meets every other week and also has the day care children visit the library on a weekly basis. The library has scheduled new programming for the coming year that would not have been possible without the use of the new community room, kitchen and library.

The Elma Community Complex is considered a community hub that supports all citizens and enables the city to save on expenses by consolidating three entities under one roof and using solar power to offset electricity costs. The ECC offers community services while being cost effective and helps to retain young families in our small rural community and also serve older community members by offering programs and medical services for all ages.

For more information on the ECC project or to donate to the project, contact the Elma City Clerk at 641-393-2543.


Posted: March 5, 2023 in Community Complex