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Meeting Briefs

De Pere School Board
Just over 100 days into his new role with the Unified School District of De Pere, Superintendent of Schools Chris Thompson gave an update to the board of education. Probably of most interest to parents is that academics are in good shape — the district ranks even higher on average ACT scores than predicted.
With a score of 22, it’s closer to the highest scoring school’s 25.1 than to the lower tier schools that scored in the teens.

Thompson was joined by administrators and teachers in giving updates.

Curriculum director Shelly Thomas indicated that teaching is evolving.

“The focus has shifted from how teachers teach to how students learn,” she said.

That could involve using flexible spaces or facilitating a wider array of electives or vocational classes.
It doesn’t involve crowded schools, however.

“Our current designs aren’t keeping up with trends in learning,” Nick Joseph, principal at De Pere High School, said. He added that lunchrooms are too small, the auditoriums aren’t big enough to hold entire schools, there’s not enough flex spaces. That could limit the number of kids that can take electives or the kinds of electives the school is able to offer.

“We’re out of classrooms at several schools,” Joseph said.

Dawn Foeller, director of finance for the district, said three schools in particular are reaching their limits.

Foxview Intermediate has eight students over its capacity enrollment of 650, with a student population of 658.

De Pere Middle School has 675 students, which is the recommended capacity limit.

De Pere High School has 1,458 students, which is 42 shy of the recommended capacity of 1,500 students.
Their report said Grades 5 through 8 have an enrollment balloon that will start to make itself more obvious at the high school by next year.

What this all leads to is what Thompson called “the R word,” or referendum. One could be on the ballot as soon as next year.

To determine the district’s future instructional, programming and facility needs, the board unanimously approved hiring the services of two consultants for about $50,000. The money is already included in next year’s budget, Thompson said.

The consultants, Howick Associates of Waunakee, and School Perceptions, of Slinger, will provide “development of a long-term district strategic plan (and possible feasibility study) that leads to a long-range facilities plan,” according to the team’s report.

The firms will assess how students learn and how teachers teach, both now and in the future and weigh it against the limitations of current facilities. The consultants will also assist in determining how the district should respond to growth, in terms of facilities, strategies, and other areas.

“When information from the strategic plan and facilities plans are combined, they will provide a coherent approach for the Unified School District of De Pere community for moving toward the District’s desired future state,” Thompson said in his report.

New wheels
In other business, the board voted to approve the purchase of a new cargo van for the school nutrition department. The $46,500 van from Dorsch Ford in Green Bay will be used to transport food from the main kitchen at the high school daily to other schools in the district, as well as to feeding sites for the summer food service program.
It should arrive in six to nine months.
One board member asked if the administration had considered purchasing a used van. Finance director for the district, Dawn Foeller, said they had looked for used vehicles but were not able to find one that had low enough mileage to be worth the price being asked.

De Pere Common Council
Fire department recognized
Mayor James Boyd made a proclamation marking the 150th birthday of De Pere Fire Rescue this week at the most recent meeting of the De Pere Common Council.

In 1872, the De Pere Fire Company officially organized into a city department. Its current unit consists of 52 individuals and two fire stations, protecting a population of over 25,000 and spanning 12 square miles.

It also covers parts of the Town of Ledgeview, the Town of Lawrence and an area of Ashwaubenon for emergency medical rescue. Combined, this comes to more than 25 square miles with an additional population of over 10,000 people, according to Boyd’s proclamation.

“Throughout the past 15 decades, De Pere Fire Rescue has provided a superior level of emergency service to De Pere that has continually improved the quality of life, health, and safety of our community,” Boyd said. “De Pere Fire Rescue also continues to pride itself in building strong relationships as an active, positive partner in our community, regularly visiting schools and assisted living facilities, strengthening bonds with area businesses, and utilizing media opportunities to inform, educate and serve De Pere.”

He asked residents to thank De Pere’s firefighters, staff, and EMT workers for their service.

Workshops, storage space coming
The Common Council approved an amended precise implementation plan (PIP) for a two- to three-phase storage condo development at 701 Millennium Court. The development will have up to 13 buildings (storage condos) with landscaping. The spot is the northeast quadrant of the intersection of Rockland Road and the Fox River State Recreational Trail.

The developers are listed as Town & Country Development – Storage USA.

The third phase is expected to be finished in 2027.

A temporary gravel access road across property owned by the city will provide access for construction vehicles carrying materials too heavy to be driven over new asphalt interior streets, such as concrete and trusses. The developer will establish a revocable occupancy permit to lay out how the temporary road will be maintained and eventually removed. The drive will be removed once all of the storage condos are built and sold, according to Town & Country.

The developer lists usage of the storage condos as industrial and hobbyist workshops.

Each of the 13 new buildings will be 2,500 square feet and feature two units, each of which will have its own warehouse, office, and minimum of two parking spaces.

Bungalows to be developed
The Common Council also voted unanimously to authorize a development agreement between the city of De Pere and Bungalow Holdings, LLC, for The Bungalows of De Pere single-family housing development.

The development will be on a 35-acre parcel of land in Tax Incremental Financing District No. 15 on the west side (Parcels WD-D0031, WD-D0034 and WD-D0035) and will involve building 82 single-family residential properties, with clubhouse and other amenities. The 3,039-square-foot clubhouse will feature a community room, kitchen, exercise room, game room and more.

The development will require connections to public water main and sanitary sewer along Lawrence Drive and Employers Boulevard and will be treated by two regional detention ponds.

In other business, the Common Council voted to:
Accept a $250 donation from Pink Flamingos Classic, Inc., softball tournament, to the Recreation Scholarship Fund of the De Pere Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry.

Accept a $300 donation from Pink Flamingos Classic, Inc., toward a chalk liner for the ball diamond at Legion Park.

Accept a donation of $800 from WI United FC – De Pere soccer club (formerly Select Soccer) for grass seed and services to overseed the soccer fields at Southwest Park. The aim behind overseeding is to remedy the worn-down areas of the fields and help thicken thinning grass.

Accept the donation of two premier goals valued at $15,000 from WI United FC soccer club for Field 1 at Southwest Park. The goals are the same ones the team used in July when it played at Lambeau Field. The soccer organization has made a number of contributions for projects at Southwest Park, which is located between Lawrence Drive and I-41.

Allouez Village Board
TDS addresses stormwater lateral concerns

The Allouez Village Board had a Memorandum of Understanding with TDS to address concerns over the stormwater laterals that were struck during the installation of fiber optic network throughout the village.
Public Works Director Sean Gehin said locating stormwater laterals in the village is often difficult due to the lack of records surrounding the locations of such lines and the materials they are made of often being hard to detect.

At the end of July/early August, Gehin said he suspended TDS’s permits — bringing installation work to a halt — after receiving a high volume of calls related to two stormwater laterals that had been hit by TDS during the installation process.

TDS and the Village of Allouez worked together to come up with a list of best practices and management strategies to prevent more lines from being impacted and to provide a warranty and timely repairs to any lines hit moving forward, including raising the depth of their conduit from 36 inches to 18 inches and aligning bore pits with known lateral connection points.

A representative from TDS was present at the meeting and assured board members that hitting stormwater laterals is a risk TDS faces in all of their projects across the state and noted that the measures outlined in the memorandum align with measures the company already takes when stormwater laterals are impacted in regards to repairing lines.

The Village Board directed Gehin to reinstate TDS’ permits so that construction can continue while weather allows and the agreement will come back before the board after it has been reviewed by the village’s and TDS’ attorneys.

Cross-connection inspections
Also on the agenda for the Allouez Village Board meeting was an agreement to contract with HydroCorps to carry out cross-connection inspections on behalf of the village.

The services HydroCorps will provide include scheduling and conducting inspections, DNR reporting, and re-inspection/compliance inspections as necessary.

The proposed agreement employs HydroCorps to carry out 300 inspections over the 1-year contract, beginning January 2024.

No decision regarding the contract was made at the Tuesday meeting, as the item was tabled until some of the language in the agreement could be clarified.

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