Buildings and Grounds Committee will hold meeting to review residents’ input on options for improving facilities
The first indication of whether Port Washington-Saukville School District residents are willing to pay for school improvements totaling between $86 and $97 million will come next week when the results of a survey completed Tuesday are presented to school officials.
The school board’s Building and Grounds Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the Port Washington High School library to review survey results presented by School Perceptions, the Slinger firm hired to poll residents.
School officials have said the results of the survey, which was mailed to about 8,000 homes, will be a key factor in deciding whether to hold what would be the most expensive referendum in the history of the district.
A good first step in that process was a strong response to the survey, Supt. Michael Weber said.
More than 2,100 surveys — about 25% of those distributed — were completed and returned.
“School Perceptions indicated that this is the best response to a survey they have received this year,” Weber said. “The greater the response, the better and more accurate the information that will be used to decide what the next steps will be.”
The school improvement proposal drafted by Bray Architects addresses two major needs in the district — elementary schools that are at capacity and an old, inefficient high school that dates to 1931 and has grown over the years through a series of additions.
To address the high school needs, Bray Architects has recommended two options — create a like-new school by demolishing about 70% of the current school and rebuilding on the current site at 427 W. Jackson St. for $61 million or build a new school at a site yet to be determined for $72 million.
Building a new Port High has not been thoroughly studied because the district does not have a school site, which school officials have noted would likely be outside the City of Port Washington.
Bray’s plan for renovating the existing high school calls for new classrooms, science labs, an art studio, cafeteria, library and arena-style competition and auxiliary gyms separated by wrestling, weight training and fitness rooms.
The parts of the school that would be renovated rather than rebuilt are the Washington Heights building on the north end of the school, the technology education wing to the west of it and the auditorium at the southeast end of the school.
Plumbing, heating and electrical systems in the school would be replaced. Antiquated safety systems such as fire alarms, exit lighting and the backup generator, bathrooms that do not comply with Americans with Disabilities standards and the roof would be addressed.
To deal with space needs at the elementary schools, Bray Architects has proposed building additions at Lincoln and Saukville elementary schools that would include large gyms and community rooms. Existing gyms would be redesigned to provide additional classrooms and library space.
At Dunwiddie Elementary School, an addition would be built on the north side of the building to provide a more secure entrance, community room and classrooms.
Deferred maintenance projects would be undertaken at all elementary schools. They include the replacement of roofs, security and safety upgrades, replacement of mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems, parking lot, sidewalk and playground improvements and kitchen upgrades.
The elementary school projects are estimated to cost $25 million.
Many of the new facilities at the elementary schools and Port High, in particular the gyms, would be designed with community use in mind to alleviate the demand for indoor recreation space.
The survey asked residents whether they support the elementary school projects and which of the high school options, if either, they favor.
It also asked whether residents support funding both the elementary school and high school projects at the same time, which would cost $86 or $97 million depending on the high school option, or prioritizing them.