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Williams Bay looks at need for new elementary school

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Kayla Bunge
August 24, 2009
— The Williams Bay Elementary School building is starting to show its age, and a study is under way to determine whether to renovate the existing building or construct a new building.

The school board last week hired Kehoe-Henry & Associates of Elkhorn to conduct a study of the 93-year-old elementary school building at 139 Congress St.


“I think there’s a general recognition on the school board that the elementary school facilities are in need of an upgrade,” said District Administrator Fred Vorlop. “Whether we remodel and renovate that school or build a new school remains to be established at this point.”


The elementary school building was built in 1916 and housed all grades until a middle school/high school building was built in 1996.


Engineers will study needed infrastructure improvements, Vorlop said, including roofing; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; electrical and plumbing.


“Some of the roofs on the school are more than 20 years old,” he said, “and the school has one furnace that is 94 years old.”


Engineers also could assess teaching and learning space needs, Vorlop said.


“Much of that building, I think, is outdated,” he said. “Ultimately, we’ll have to look at a comparison of the cost and benefits of upgrading the existing building and the cost and benefits of building a new building.”


If the school board chooses—based on the results of the study—to construct a new elementary school building, it likely would site it next to the middle school/high school at 500 W. Geneva St., Vorlop said. The middle school/high school site is 80 acres, and the land was purchased with the intent to house both school buildings, he said.


Whatever option the school board chooses, the project would be incorporated into current tax rates, Vorlop said. District taxpayers currently are paying for the middle school/high school building, a project that is expected to be paid off in 2015, he said.


The cost of the study is $14,750, and officials expect engineers to present their findings to the school board in early 2010.



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