The renovation and addition of Lake Mills High School has turned into so much more than district officials ever could have hoped for when they set out on an almost $7 million referendum project.
Not only will the school be getting six new classrooms, a renovated library, new Family and Consumer Science and agricultural space and improved technical education areas, but those technical education areas will be laid out in a more practical fashion after consulting with area manufacturers. The classrooms will allow teachers to utilize and supervise multiple areas.
The agriculture and Family and Consumer Science classrooms will be located together to utilize the shared areas.
“We were able to spread out the square footage,” said Teresa Wadzinski, senior project manager at EUA, the district’s architect. “Food science and agriculture can both use the culinary kitchen.”
“We have a new teacher (Food Science) who is a chef from the East Coast, she is all about farm to table. We have a greenhouse right here and she is right here with Luke Weidenfeld (agriculture teacher). We have all the food on this end and all the technology on the other,” said District Administrator Pamela Streich
During renovations some interesting things have come to the surface including the blue and pink tile in the back of the library that were once boys’ and girls’ bathrooms and a time capsule.
“None of us knew it was there,” Streich said, of the tile.
Crews are working on the new business classrooms and collaborative areas located where the library once was. Those classrooms will be ready for the start of the new school year. The new library, which will be in the addition at the front of the school won’t be ready until second semester.
“They have to turn it over in mid-August, because then the teachers have to move in,” said Wadzinski. “The schedule is currently on track to do that.”
The business teachers at the high school wanted the classrooms to be on the interior of the school so the classrooms wouldn’t get natural light and it would be easier to work on the computer.
The special education classrooms will be moving to the former business classrooms to take them out of the technical education area.
The “Wellness Center” or weight room is turning out to be an expansive space located in between the food and technology areas.
“In the Wellness Center there is a weight room and an office for the staff person and a restroom.”
There will be an outside entrance to get into the weight room that could be used by community members if the district decides to do that.
In phase three of the district’s long-term facilities plan they had planned on moving the weight room to the new gym area, but Streich said the new space might be its forever home.
“This is so much bigger than I ever dreamed,” she said.
The school partnered with UW-Madison to get exercise equipment on a purchasing deal.
She said the new weight room space will be utilized by every student at the school.
“We had kids who have never been down here since their eighth-grade tour. Now this will touch every kid by using the weight room for physical education.”
Streich said the work in the technology education wing was not in the referendum but was added because of community interest.
Streich said they put $400,000 into the improvements in the technology education wing.
“Because of the weight room coming down here and because of the Family and Consumer Science coming in here we could bring more of the referendum money come into this space and help create it all,” Streich said.
“People said, ‘what are we going to see for $7 million?’ This is amazing. This was not planned,” she said of the improvements since the public forums in the technology wing of the school.”
“This is going to be a really good spot and a good program,” said Robert Dimperio, school board member.
Workers are also making big strides with the multi-purpose outdoor athletic facility which will include the track and football field.
The turf carpet will be laid soon, currently workers are creating the base for the turf.
There are a lot of layers of different materials involved in creating the field surface.
“Not only does the stone create a foundation for the carpet, it acts as drainage,” said Ryan Birschbach, project engineer. “Any rainwater that falls will onto the carpet will seep in through that stone and around the curb is a trench filled with the same stone and go into a perforated pipe and it collects and discharges out.”
The biggest benefit of the turf field will be no mowing and the ease of the drainage.
“When you do get those heavy rains it drains, so you don’t have to cancel games,” said Wadzinski.
The district has a 12-year warranty on the turf, but Streich says other fields with turf in the state are lasting up to 15 years.
Students and staff will start to enjoy portions of the renovated building this fall with the rest of the additions and renovations in the Spring of 2020. Friday night lights will be on for football starting in the Fall of 2020.
When the work is done Lake Mills High School will have a capacity of 600 students.
“This is so much more than we thought it was going to be,” Streich said.