A former bowling alley could become more than a temporary space fix for the Milton School District.
The district recently extended its lease agreement with Backyard Properties through March 31. Backyard Properties owns the former Varsity Lanes building at 450 S. John Paul Road, just west of the high school.
It’s a space the district has used for athletics and academics since last year.
“We were looking for ways to be creative with facility solutions,” District Administrator Tim Schigur said. “This vacant building adjacent to our property fit the mold, especially when Backyard Properties emptied the building and got rid of bowling alley equipment. It was a nice space to utilize.”
Milton originally entered the agreement a year ago because bad weather sometimes could force sports teams to cancel practices or postpone them until late at night.
The district’s existing indoor athletic space was not enough to accommodate everyone, Schigur said last year. In addition, voters have rejected two referendums to build a new high school.
Milton’s baseball and softball teams regularly use the former bowling alley. MECAS, the city’s alternative high school, and some student organizations use the building for academic and extracurricular purposes, Schigur said.
The district also rents the facility to the Milton Mad Dogs traveling youth baseball team and Milton Wildcats traveling youth softball team, which use it on a weekly basis. The UW-Platteville baseball team and Milton Recreation recently held a hitting camp there, as well, he said.
Renting the building has helped the district generate about $10,000 during the past year, compared to nearly $40,000 in total costs, according to a fiscal summary provided by the district.
Some of that $40,000 was for one-time expenses, such as an upgraded heater and removable turf for athletics. The district also pays utilities and roughly $1,100 per month for rent.
The fiscal summary projects about $6,000 in total costs during the district’s three-month lease extension, which ends in March.
After two failed referendums in two years, Schigur said he expects the school board to consider a long-term rental agreement for the building. It’s a “nice asset” that would heed the public’s call for a compromise on sports facilities, he said.
The building is not up for sale, but if it were, the school board might discuss buying it. Schigur did not have a cost estimate for that purchase.