The Lake Mills Area School District Community Conversation continues with the critical needs at the high school as the venue gets close to capacity.
Eppstein Uhen Architects Project Manager Teresa Wadzinski reviewed renovations to the first floor.
“These are things the core team considers critical needs,” she said. “This isn’t fluff; this isn’t stuff we’d like to have, this is basic critical needs.”
She said the first thing is a classroom addition to address the capacity at the high school.
“It provides six additional classrooms with a collaboration space and group spaces similar to what you would see at the middle school and elementary school,” she said.
Wadzinski said they would also renovate the library.
“The elementary library was just in an article as one of the top 10 coolest libraries for kids,” she said. “We are ready to up that and see if we can make the high school make that list in a couple of years.”
She said in addition to classroom space, there will be office space created for the psychologist, so students have a private place to seek help along with school counselors and the athletic directors.
On the lower level, she said things being considered is an updated family and consumer education room with commercial equipment, so the students can work and use equipment they would use if they go into a culinary arts program.
“Another aspect of the plan would be relocating the weight room to have an outside entrance and repurposing the weight room into classroom space,” she said.
Superintendent Pam Streich said the area currently is a tech area, used by the woods and metal teachers and the tech-ed teacher.
“This is just one teacher using all the space,” she said. “That’s something that came out of our utilization study.”
She said part of that space is broken into three spaces, construction, a middle area with desks and the upper third has storage for the maintenance department.
A member of the crowd asked if part of the are used to be where the auto shop used to be.
“Schools in our area created a consortium to address the automotive program because it is expensive for every school to maintain those programs,” she said. “Our students can take those programs right now and go to Jefferson, and they have all the resources.”
She said the district transports students to Jefferson High School.
“All the small communities couldn’t keep up with all those automotive needs,” she said.
The comment was made that agriculture and tech-education will “to take off” in the future.
“I heard rumors they are going to turn that into a weight room,” he said.
Streich said the storage area would become the weight room.
“That tech-ed you are talking about still has all of this space,” she said, pointing to the diagram.
Wadzinski said turning storage into a weight room involves a wall and flooring.
“It would be a minimal investment,” she said.
Lake Mills City Council President Diann Fritsch said outside access is critical for a weight room.
“They come in at ungodly hours and stay for ungodly hours,” he said. “If we do that, then we don’t need the whole building open. You can have one person in charge, which we always have to have, but they would go in and out of that outside area.”
Miron Construction Education Specialist Megan Prestebak said the cost for the improvements is the $6.5 million question.
“The plan you just saw equates to $6.5 million,” she said. “That is a total construction cost, so if just the essential needs were to go to referendum it would be at $6.5 million, and we know that cannot exceed that dollar amount.”
Streich said a new primary school means another referendum and vote.
“It’s no secret that we own land on the south side of town,” she said. “There are some other ideas as well, and we will keep a keen eye on enrollment and where those populations are building.”
Pestebak said the projected cost for a new primary school is $16-18 million.
“We haven’t escalated that for inflation,” she said. “We are averaging four percent per year, but these are in today’s dollars.