Residents of Reedsburg School District approved for the school board to purchase 80 acres of land that will be home to a new elementary school at the Dec. 18 special board of electors meeting at Webb Middle School. The motion was passed 221-92.
District Administrator Tom Benson said the purchase of the 80 acres of farmland will cost a total of $750,000, a per acre total of $9,375. Benson said the school board looked at around 13 to 15 property locations in and around the city of Reedsburg before deciding on the two 40 acre parcels on the corner of East Reedsburg Road and North Golf Course Road.
Benson said the site will include road extensions and school signage to Crestview Drive, Wengel Drive and Huntington Park Drive. He said the road extensions are included in the $32 million referendum approved Oct. 10.
“We would anticipate that with the placement of an elementary school on the western side of this 80 acre parcel that, at least for now, Huntington Park would only go as far as Wengel Drive and Wengle Drive would only go as far as Huntington Park,” Benson said. “It would be at the intersection of those two we would have a school district drive into this parcel that would serve (as) a parking lot and obviously those who are conducting their business for whatever reason at this new elementary school.”
Neal Pulvermacher, who serves on the Building and Grounds Committee for the school board, said there has been an “extensive thought process” the board took when looking at land parcels for the elementary school. He said the parcels looked at on the west and north side of the city would require extra maintenance with ground water issues and getting water to the area along with finding the space needed to fit a new elementary school.
“When you start looking for a 20 to 30 plus acre parcel just for one school you are very limited in terms of what Reedsburg has to offer,” Pulvermacher said. “You’re not finding it in the central district of Reedsburg there having to go to the outline to have to find that kind of parcel.”
Several electors voiced concerns about safety with increased traffic to the east side of Reedsburg, especially with nearby locations like Reedsburg Area Medical Center and Pineview Elementary School. Keri Walker, who lives on the corner of Golf Course and Reedsburg Road, said those driving from nearby areas like Baraboo and Rocks Springs will use Golf Course Road as a “cut through” to get to Reedsburg. While she wasn’t against the location, she asked if a traffic count of the area had been completed.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out mowing the lawn, taking out the trash… there is an enormous amount of traffic on Golf Course Road because people are trying to avoid Main Street, the stop and go lights, etc.” Walker said. “I haven’t seen anybody doing traffic counts out there and I’m wondering if that has been carefully thought through.”
Another topic electors were concerned about was convenience of the location for parents and children living in other parts of the city when picking up and dropping of their children. Jim Schulenberg, who lives on North Dewey Avenue, was concerned about the economic impact the elementary school’s location could have on the future of the city.
“I’m concerned about the social and environmental impact it will have on our community,” Schulenberg said. “If we do not have affordable housing in this community or if we try to put affordable housing in the area that can’t afford affordable housing then we’re going to have a situation where the growth is going to be extremely slow it will stumble (and) stop and if we put affordable housing in the correct place it will be enhanced.”
Other electors praised the school district for taking the time and doing the research to choose what they thought was best for the future of the school district.
“You do all you can to give your community the very best,” Joanne Hollendyke, who lives on Borland Court, said. “Because the bottom line it’s about the children.”
Benson said the new elementary school will start construction in the spring of 2018. The school is projected to be open for the 2019-2020 school year and will host around 550 to 600 students in grades third through fifth. The decision of the location to build the transportation facility will be decided at a later date.
“We don’t know if that facility will live on this parcel of land or not,” Benson said. “Those decisions are yet to be made.”