The Beloit School District is preparing to celebrate the reopening of three newly renovated schools. The renovations were a part of a $70 million referendum. The on-the-field action between the Knights and the Vikings Friday night wasn't the only thing parents in Beloit were excited about.
"I'm excited for the new middle school and the changes to the school my son will be going to next year,” said Heather Akerberg. “[The school will bring] more opportunities, better learning facilities; it's a good thing for Beloit."
One of her sons plays on the freshman football team at Beloit Memorial High School, her other son is a fifth-grader.
Lish Sadler's son Ricky is also on the freshman football team. While he's excited about the new pool and fitness center at Beloit Memorial, she's excited her other son's school will have air conditioning.
"I have one that's a special needs child and he goes to Converse, so that's why I like the upgrades there," said Sadler.
On Friday afternoon landscapers were putting the finishing touches on Converse School -- just in time for the ribbon cutting on Monday.
District spokeswoman Melissa Badger said most of the renovations and upgrades have remained on budget and on schedule.
"Most of the projects have been on time [but] we've had a few snags. Gaston, it turns out, was a little smaller than we needed it to be so we had to expand that a little bit,” Badger explained. “Thankfully the people in that neighborhood have been really good about working with us and getting us the land and things so we can expand that."
To complete the new intermediate school on Milwaukee Road, the district still needs to work out a price agreement with a property owner. The case is set to go before a Rock County Commission.
"Fortunately that's coming to a close, so toward the end of this month, I believe on the 26th, they'll have a hearing to work out the price details and they're expected to transfer the title mid-October," said Badger.
The homeowners involved declined to comment citing the pending hearing.
District leaders said enrollment has been neutral, meaning it gained almost as many students as it lost.
"We had a really huge surge in enrollment just this last year; even so, we have to make sure there's enough room for now and in the future," said Badger.
Akerberg said the upgrades are expensive but a worthwhile investment.
"If we have a strong school district and strong kids coming out of the district, I think the whole community benefits," she said.
The schools being renovated during phase two of the project, which includes Todd, Hackett and Gaston, should be completed by the end of the year. The new intermediate school is scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2015.
The intermediate school doesn't have a name yet and they're looking for suggestions. Residents can submit suggestions online at wsx.sdb.k12.wi.us.