EVANSVILLE

A 35-member committee is evaluating Evansville school facilities and whether a referendum might eventually be necessary.

The newly formed Citizens Advisory Committee of community members, business owners and district administrators is responsible for identifying immediate, emerging and future facility needs, said Jerry Roth, Evansville schools district administrator.

The committee’s work will follow a facilities study underway by Bray Architects of Milwaukee. The study began early this summer, Roth said. J.P. Cullen of Janesville, construction manager for the district, has worked alongside the architectural firm.

Based on the committee’s findings, the school board eventually will determine whether the district goes to referendum, Roth said.

The goal is to have final recommendations to the school board by April 25, Roth said.

Roth said he has not seen details of the Bray study. He is waiting until details are given during a bi-weekly committee meeting Wednesday, Sept. 6.

The committee’s first four meetings will include tours of the district’s four schools—Levi Leonard Elementary School, Theodore Robinson Intermediate School, JC McKenna Middle School and Evansville High School, Roth said.

Facilities assessments for the respective schools will be given prior to tours, followed by discussion, according to the committee’s schedule.

The meetings are open to the public, Roth said.

“(The district has made) no decisions on what we want or what should be done because that’s what the committee work is for, to look at all the educational needs and so forth and then make decisions on that,” Roth said.

Mayor Bill Hurtley said he joined the committee because he believes there should be representation from city government.

“It’s pretty much up to the people what they want to do,” Hurtley said. “We just want to make sure the city’s interests are heard.”

Huntley said he’s curious what will happen but does not have any specific objectives. He suspects the middle school will be the topic of much discussion.

JC McKenna Middle School was built in 1921 and previously served as the elementary and high school for the city, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

The Citizens Advisory Committee’s responsibilities, according to its charge, include:

  • Propose options/renovations/upgrades that support safe and accessible learning environments.
  • Provide purposeful spaces that inspire innovative learning, accommodate evolving technology and promote collaboration amongst students, staff, parents and the community.
  • Recommend a solution that is cost-effective for the taxpayer while providing for an enduring end-product that is energy efficient and adaptable for decades to come for the future of the Evansville Community School District and the residents and future students of all the communities we serve.
  • Serve as information providers and key communicators to the community throughout the process.

In 2014, Evansville passed two referendums, one to purchase curriculum and technology and one for facility security and maintenance, according to Gazette archives. The referendums totaled $4.57 million over five years.

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