Wisconsin County Eyeing New Schools

RACINE, WI. — The Racine Unified School District Board of Education recently announced plans to build two new public schools. The board also approved upgrades and an addition to an existing elementary school in order to create a new adjoining middle school. The district’s Chief of Operations Dave Hazen told the Journal Times in late April that, with the budgets and basic plans for the new schools approved, the district will likely begin site work on the new facilities shortly after school lets out this summer.
The expansion of Gifford Elementary School in Caledonia, Wis., will involve the addition of a middle school wing, reducing the need for additional public schools spread across different properties. Knapp Elementary School located in Racine as well as Olympia Brown Elementary School, also located in Caledonia, will be rebuilt entirely.

For Knapp, the plan involves building a 67,822-square-foot, two-story elementary school on an open space adjacent to the existing facility. The $14 million project will include a separate gym and cafeterias, as well as space for community activities in collaboration with the United Way of Racine County. Bray Architects of Milwaukee was selected to design the new school in January.

When construction begins on Olympia Brown Elementary, the school’s original location will be vacated and the school will shift to a different area in Caledonia. The $15 million school will span approximately 67,415-square-foot and will likely focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum. Milwaukee-based Zimmerman Architectural Studios designed the facility.

The Gifford Elementary School addition, designed by Partners in Design of Kenosha, Wis., will be the largest of the three projects in terms of both size and total estimated cost. Gifford will require a $16.5 million budget with an extra $2.4 million to renovate the existing 85,000-square-foot elementary school. The middle school addition will comprise roughly 78,000 square feet, and the school, which will serve K-8 students upon completion, will remain open throughout construction.

The schools are anticipated to open in the fall of 2016 and will help improve educational offerings to district students. These projects will also create new community jobs.