Wanatah, LaCrosse consider school consolidation

2013-03-13T17:49:00Z 2013-03-13T17:58:03Z Wanatah, LaCrosse consider school consolidationStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 13, 2013 5:49 pm  • 

Consolidating schools in Wanatah and LaCrosse at one location is being given a hard look at as a way to shore up enrollment.

The Tri-Township Schools board plans to add on to the K-8 school in Wanatah and moving the high school into the new space within five years, Superintendent Tim Somers said.

"I could see them going even quicker than that. We'll see what they decide," said Somers.

LaCrosse High School built in 1915 and Wanatah School make up the school district.

Among the driving forces behind the issue is whether to spend money to fix such an old school building and the inconvenience of having buildings eight miles apart in a district with just 377 students.

Somers said enrollment is down by five students over the previous year.

He said the belief is that Wanatah being just 10 miles from Valparaiso and that city's shopping district is positioned better for future residential growth.

Somers said more housing development could lead to more young families moving in and enrolling their children at Wanatah School, which is just off U.S. 30.

In comparison, LaCrosse is more rural and accessible by U.S. 421, a two lane highway as opposed to U.S. 30, which has four lanes.

Somers said a four-classroom addition containing restrooms and a gymnasium would cost about $4.5 million.

However, the talk right now is to keep using the gym at LaCrosse for high school athletic events.

Somers said the high school, despite being somewhat outdated, is outfitted with all of the latest technology.

The question is how much longer even with upgrades and repairs will the structure continue to remain functional.

"How long are you going to maintain a 100-year-old building?" asked Somers.

 

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