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West De Pere school district plans building projects open house

By Lee Reinsch

DE PERE – The West De Pere school district will hold an open house in the near future so parents and the community can learn about the status of the district’s upcoming building projects.

A date hasn’t been finalized yet.

By the time the date of the open house is finalized, the building subcommittee that’s gathering design ideas should have a better picture of what the concept it will put forward will look like.

The board met at West De Pere Middle School Feb. 20.

The pending projects are the manifestation of a nearly $75 million West De Pere School District referendum that voters passed last fall.

In November, taxpayers in the West De Pere school district voted to build a new intermediate school (for grades five and six) on the grounds of the current middle school and to build a new multi-purpose facility as well as a two-story classroom addition onto the high school.

Other improvements at other schools in the district include HVAC and electrical upgrades, roofing repair, stadium and track upgrades and other school improvements.

There currently is no intermediate school in the West De Pere school district, although the Unified School District of De Pere has one.

West De Pere students in grade five attend Westwood or Hemlock elementary schools, and students in grade six attend West De Pere Middle School.

At its most recent meeting, the West De Pere school board heard an update on where the projects stand.

Among the first projects to be done will be to move the softball fields from West De Pere Middle School to Westwood Elementary School, add more parking and add a concession stand and restroom facilities for the softball fields.

Projects requiring construction are still mostly in the input and research stages.

A committee of grade five and six teachers has traveled to 10 school districts to tour intermediate schools and will visit a few more in March.

“We’re looking at buildings and some of the programs they (those schools) offer, to get an idea what ours would be,” said Dr. James Finley, principal of West De Pere Middle School.

The committee will solicit feedback from staff and identify common themes that illustrate need, versus those suggestions that are simply one request by one staff member.

Superintendent John Zegers suggested including comments and feedback gathered via social media as well.

“We will bring that to the board and get the ideas to Bray (Architects of Sheboygan) by July,” Finley said.

Exchange students

The school board also approved the requests of two De Pere families hosting foreign exchange students for them to attend West De Pere High School for the 2019-20 school year. Both are girls – one from Germany and the other from Finland.

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