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De Pere school district to develop facilities plan

– Lacking a crystal ball, the Unified School District of De Pere will get some help from a local architect and engineering firm to assess what’s over the horizon for the district.

The Board of Education voted unanimously this week to partner with Somerville Architects and Engineers of Green Bay to help the district study what needs to be done in order to prepare its facilities for the years to come.

The school district will pay Somerville around $9,500 for the service.

Somerville will assess all of the buildings in the school district with an eye to current capacity levels and future growth, expansion, development in the district, enrollment projections and population trends, as well as keeping education trends and learning styles in mind.

The board voted last month to work with two academic consultants, Howick Associates, of Waunakee, and School Perceptions, of Slinger, to develop a strategic plan.

That will be a seven-month process that will help the district update its mission, identify core values and lay out a route for future educational programming.

“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,” Dr. Christopher Thompson, superintendent of schools for the Unified School District of De Pere, said.

The facilities plan may include a feasibility study.

Somerville will look at all of the district’s buildings, inside and out, (including windows, roofs, parking lots and sidewalks); electrical systems, heating and ventilation, plumbing, safety systems, accessibility, as well as grade level configurations.

The current student population of the school district is about 4,400 students, with a collective staff of 575.

The facilities in the district include De Pere High School, De Pere Middle School (grades 7-8), Foxview Intermediate School (grades 5-6), and the three elementary (K-4) schools: Dickenson Elementary School, Susie G. Altmayer Elementary School and Heritage Elementary School.
Several private daycare facilities provide pre-kindergarten services, as does an onsite learning center at the high school.

The district office is on the campus of the high school as well.

According to the most recent enrollment count, Foxview Intermediate is eight students over capacity (capacity is 650; enrollment is 658); De Pere Middle School is at capacity (enrollment is 675); De Pere High School has space for an additional 42 students (capacity is 1,500; enrollment is 1,458); Dickinson Elementary has space for an additional 74 students (capacity is 594; enrollment is 520); Heritage Elementary has space for an additional 64 students (capacity is 638; enrollment is 574); and Susie G. Altmayer Elementary has capacity for 216 students (capacity is 638; enrollment is 422).

Other engineering firms the district considered were asking fees as high as $53,000 to do the work, with the next lowest price to Somerville at $18,400.

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