By Lee Reinsch
DE PERE – A centerpiece of a library will anchor West De Pere’s new intermediate school.
“It’s going to be a two-story volume that will serve as a feature piece along Ninth Street,” said Clint Selle, architect with Bray Architects of Milwaukee. “We want it to be very welcoming.”
While ground won’t break for another year, community members got a peek at its proposed footprint at an open house April 8 that drew about a dozen community members.
They also heard about where things stand with other West De Pere School District building projects approved via referendum last November.
The new intermediate school will have classrooms wrapping around the library on two stories, with fifth grade on the ground floor and sixth grade on the second floor.
“Fifth grade is organized with a lot of flexibility; we wanted teachers to be able to team teach and have houses, or pods, or clusters of classrooms, but not lock things in where there’s a cluster of four classrooms and that’s all you can do,” Selle said. “This configuration allows for a cluster of six classes to team teach at a time, or just have two or three teaching if you want.”
Another key is getting lockers out of the usual hallway corridor lineup, Selle said.
“This will have locker bays, so they have good supervision from the classrooms,” he said.
The school will have what they’re referring to as a “main street,” along which will be classrooms for subjects such as art, music and languages.
The cafeteria is sized to hold a whole grade level at one time – about 300 to 350 kids.
“The kitchen at this school will be a production-style kitchen, and it will be able to produce food for itself as well as the middle school and Westwood,” Selle said.
On the second floor, the sixth-graders will have a similar classroom arrangement, with the addition of a couple science rooms, which are larger classrooms with sinks for messy projects.
The gym will be similar to the one in the middle school and will have an adaptive physical education space.
The new intermediate school will be built to the north of the middle school.
“One of the neat features we want to create is a kind of pedestrian boulevard cutting through, between the existing building and the new building to really create kind of a college-campus type feel to it,” Selle said.
While construction won’t for another year, work is set to start in a few weeks for some of the other projects.
Work is being batched into two main phases: Phase I consists mainly of work at Westwood Elementary, as well as the internal work at the middle school and its grounds (slated to start this spring and be finished by fall, for the start of the 2019-20 school year); and Phase II is the construction of the new intermediate school building as well as sitework for that building (which will break ground a year from now, in spring of 2020, and be ready for the 2020-21 school year).
“This summer we’ll be moving softball fields from the middle school grounds to the grounds of Westwood Elementary School,” said Craig Sachs, preconstruction executive with Miron Construction.
The fields will be ready for players to throw out their first pitch by spring of 2020.
“From the southwest corner (of the Westwood site), we’ll have a new varsity field and a new jayvee/freshman field, and in the middle of that will be a concession building,” Selle said.
Selle said many people want to know whether the softball fields will have lights. They won’t.
“But that’s not to say they couldn’t be added at some point,” Selle said.
Also at the Westwood Elementary site, they’re looking to create a new 4K playground just off the 4K classrooms in the northeast corner.
Playground equipment on the south side playground will be upgraded.
Westwood’s interior renovations center on the cafeteria: upgrading finishes, flooring, and paint; and reconfiguring the kitchen.
“One of the goals we hope to achieve is to create some walls for a better separation between the serving and dining areas,” Selle said.
That project involves plumbing as well as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) work.