Mequon - With a new strategic plan still in the works, the Mequon-Thiensville School District is not prepared to make a decision on how to address capital and space needs for its facilities.
Following discussion of a recently completed facilities study, which outlines needed improvements for district buildings and proposes seven different options for addressing underutilized space as a result of current and projected declining enrollment, the School Board on Monday chose to delay selection of which option to pursue, pending completion of its strategic planning process.
Options presented in the study, conducted by Plunkett Raysich Architects, range from completing only level 1 and 2 recommended improvements - areas deemed as being in poor or fair condition - and nothing else, at an estimated cost of $2.6 million, to relocating grades seven and eight from both middle schools to Homestead High School, building a new elementary school and moving sixth-graders there and to Oriole Lane and Donges Bay elementary schools, and selling or closing the Lake Shore and Steffen middle schools and Range Line and Wilson elementary schools, in addition to also completing level 1 and 2 improvements - an option that would cost an estimated $39.6 million, but projects annual operational savings of about $188,400.
The other options propose different combinations of combining sites or relocating students, primarily at the middle school level, and selling or closing other buildings. Options were previously reviewed and discussed by the board in more detail at its June 18 and 25 working meetings.
Although the board expected to take action at its July 16 meeting, Superintendent Demond Means suggested it could be premature to select an option without having completed its strategic planning process.
Board President Suzette Urbashich agreed, noting that the board is missing other details needed to make a fully informed decision, such as how facility changes could impact the delivery of education and related costs, as well as numbers on real estate and property values, which the district plans to obtain next year.
"I think it would be a mistake to rush through when there is no need to rush," board member Cheryle Rebholz said.
Kim Hassell of Plunkett Raysich explained that the board could put the process on hold while keeping its contract with the company open, in order to allow the district to easily proceed when it is ready.
The board meets later this month to continue work on the district's strategic plan.
The draft facilities study is posted on the district's website, at mtsd.k12.wi.us.
WHAT:School Board work meeting to finalize strategic planning
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. July 30
WHERE: Egelhoff Community Room, 5000 W. Mequon Road
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