MMSD eyes multimillion dollar referendum to fix aging high schools

MMSD eyes multimillion dollar referendum to fix aging high schools

Madison Metropolitan School District is looking at the potential of a multimillion dollar referendum for next year’s ballot to fix aged parts of its four high schools.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had a major reinvestment in all four of these sites,” said Chad Wiese, the executive director of building and administration services for the district. “The last time we really put money in a thoughtful way, that wasn’t just fix what’s broken at the site, was in the 70s.”

.@MMSDschools is looking at potentially putting a referendum on the ballot in 2020. The money�($30-$70 mil per school) would go to the 4 high schools to fix issues that have come up with aging. In Madison Memorial HS, that’s in places like classrooms and the auditorium. #News3 pic.twitter.com/qbwW9NzoL1

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) January 16, 2019

This prompted the district to hire a couple architects to figure out just how much work is needed. The architects graded each school. La Follette, West and Memorial high schools each got a “C” grade for their conditions, and East High School got a “D.”

The district shared what they learned at the Madison Board of Education meeting on Monday, acknowledging any changes will take time and money.

“We can’t take it all on,” said the district’s presenter. “We may be working in multiple areas at the same time, but prioritization (and) strategy are going to be key.”

Now the district is looking at the potential for referendums for the high school facilities, anywhere from $30 million to $70 million per school.

The money would fix up some of the visible concerns, and while the district is at it, it can modernize the buildings to the students’, teachers’ and parents’ liking.

“The next step is quite honestly the most exciting for me,” Wiese said. “I get to work with community members, school staff, students to really make each of these projects their very own to make sure, if these projects continue on the path to potential referendum, that they really do meet the needs of each unique community.”

The referendum would be on the ballot in 2020 if the district moves forward with it. Before the district can do that, however, it would need to put a more specific plan together for the Board of Education. That would be presented to the board in May.

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