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home : government : government November 20, 2014


6/19/2013 12:30:00 PM
Cameron school plan update discussion
Valerie Leair
Chronotype staff

More than 80 people attended a meeting in Cameron for an update on plans to build a new school.
"Our goal is to present the architectural plans and let the public know what's going on," said Joe Leschisin, assistant superintendent.
The administration would like a referendum to go to vote in November asking for $23.5 million to build the school, renovate areas of the high school and middle school and build athletic fields.
The 80-acre site for the school is north of the Village of Cameron and south of the Mayo Clinic Health System along Hwy. SS.
"We want to keep a dialogue going with what Cameron wants. We don't just want this referendum to squeak by, we want input as to what Cameron wants," said Leschisin.
The referendum date is Tuesday, Nov. 5. To make that date, the Cameron School Board needs to pass a resolution on Thursday, Aug. 22 followed by a special meeting on Aug. 27 to certify the referendum question asking for the money. The actual question proposed to the voters must be certified 73 days prior to the actual referendum going to vote.
"We won't have the final building estimates until August," said Leschisin.
Updated costs, however, are still preliminary at $23.5 million. This includes building an elementary school, the price of the land purchased, renovations of the high school and athletic fields.
The current mill rate is $9.97 per $1,000 of equalized value. If the current proposal is passed, taxes would go up about $200 on a $100,000 property.
"This is community-driven and we're going to go with what the community wants," said Randal Braun, district administrator.
Braun said the preliminary figures could go up or down according to what residents say they want.
"Interest rates are low right now," said Leschisin. "The rates were 3.65%. We hope that in passing a referendum in November, we can take full advantage of historically low interest rates."
Bruce Mohns, architect of Lien and Peterson of Eau Claire, discussed some of the features of the school plans that he and his firm have drawn up.
"When we started to look at the designs, our first thoughts were for safety," he said.
The grades in the elementary school plans are situated in pods with common bathrooms, locker and storage. On the first level would be the preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. The second-, third- and fourth-grade classrooms would be on the second level. Room for future expansion is considered in the plans.
The enrollment figures were 430 students at the elementary school last school year. Open-enrolled students in the district were 218.
"We approved 229 new applications for open-enrolled students in May," said Leschisin. "Of course, this can change because people shop around, but we will get many. Improving our facilities could even help that number grow."
Leschisin said the football field has been the most debated subject. Plans have the field going in back of the high school.
"We've put a lot of Band-Aids on the old field. We've put in stairs, cut into the hillside, but still, it's not safe," he said. "Parking is a nightmare, there's no running water in the concession area, there's not adequate rest room facilities, there's a lack of seating and there's no place for teams to go at half time in bad weather other than a bus."
The current field also has inadequate American Disabilities Act accessibility with the field.
Other renovations at the high school would be additions of science and agricultural rooms, along with new rest rooms that would be accessible to the public during games.
A track would also be built. Currently the track team at the high school is fairly large and practices running in the parking lots.
"This just simply isn't safe," said Leschisin.
If all the projects are started in the spring of 2014, the elementary school would be completed in September 2015 and high school and middle school renovations would be compete by December 2014. The softball and baseball fields and track and football fields would be completed by August 2015.
The next public meeting is Wednesday, Aug. 21 in the middle school auditorium. For more information, contact "jleschisin@cameron.k12.wi.us." Updated information is at "www.cameron.k12.wi.us/referendum."

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