Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Bay school sets special architect meeting

by Chris Schultz

February 14, 2013

WILLIAMS BAY — Students, parents and residents are invited to meet the staff from Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA), Milwaukee, which will consult with the Williams Bay School Board in planning for a new elementary school.

The introduction will be at a special school board meeting 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at the elementary school's multi-purpose room. The school is at 139 Congress St.

In addition to helping the district find an exact site for the new school, design the new school to specifications and determine the best cost, the architectural firm would also have to offer assistance with public information meetings and the referendum campaign.

While the board has not formally decided to build a new elementary building, it has committed itself to that direction, said Superintendent Vance Dalzin.

What the board must still formally decide is how to finance the new building, he said.

That would probably require a bond referendum.

EUA was selected from a field of 10 architectural firms that answered requests for proposals from the school district late last year.

The firm was officially hired on Jan. 21 for an amount not to exceed $15,000.

If the school board goes ahead with plans to build a new school, the building will be on the campus of the junior/senior high school, 500 W. Geneva St.

Dalzin said EUA will review all information about the elementary school, including a Kehoe-Henry Architects survey of the current school building done in 2010, and proposed designs submitted by students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2011.

EUA will also conduct community surveys and meetings with parents and residents to determine how large the building should be, where it should be located, if it should be connected to the existing junior/senior high school building and whether the new building should have a community focus as well as an educational one, Dalzin said.

"We really want to make sure we're doing this correctly," he said.

Dalzin said EAU is committed to public engagement in building a new school. The old Williams Bay school, 139 Congress St., which now houses grades kindergarten through sixth, was once the district's sole K-12 building.

Built in 1916, the building was added to in 1929, 1951, 1957, 1962, 1966, 1991 and 1996.

The school board bought the current 80-acre site of the junior/senior high school building in the early 1990s.

The junior/senior high school building opened in 1996, but plans also called for relocating the elementary school there at sometime in the future.

A citizen facilities committee reviewed the elementary school building and decided that it has reached the end of its useful life as a school building.

The committee recommended that the new building be located on the same 80-acre campus as the junior/senior high school building.