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Red Apple Elementary

Racine (Wis.) district plan calls for closing 9 schools, building 5

Dec. 10, 2019
The $650 million facilities plan would be carried out over the next decade.

The Racine (Wis.) Unified School District has proposed a $650 million facilities overhaul that calls for closing nine elementary buildings and constructing five new facilities.

The Racine Journal Times reports that the long range facilities master plan, created over the past 18 months, documents the condition and educational adequacy of every building along with current and projected demographics. The administration used these factors to determine which buildings to recommend for renovation, construction of additions or closure.

The average age of Racine Unified’s buildings is 75: four of its buildings are constructed in the 19th century, and two more that are more than 100 years old.

Existing school buildings recommended for closure within Phase One of the plan in the next several years:

Giese Elementary

Red Apple Elementary

•Schulte Elementary 

•Roosevelt Elementary

•Janes Elementary

•Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary

•North Park Elementary

•West Ridge Elementary

•Dr. Jones Elementary

Administrators also are recommending that the district build five campuses; a new Schulte K-8 School, an elementary to replace Red Apple, an elementary to replace Roosevelt and Janes, and two new middle schools.

The original 1899 Jefferson Lighthouse structure would be torn down, and its 1962 addition would be renovated to house Unified’s alternative learning program; West Ridge would be remodeled for use as an early learning center

The school board first heard the recommendations for closures and construction this week. No official decisions have been made.

“Just so everybody understands, as long as we own buildings, we’re going to have to pay expenses on them, and what we’re doing here is trying to even out the expenses so the taxpayers don’t have a heart attack some year because things have piled up excessively,” says board member Dennis Wiser. “We’re trying to do this in as sane and stable a fashion as possible.”

To coordinate the work, the plan includes a recommendation to hire a single source program management firm.

“Not only are they going to coordinate it, but one of the goals of the organization is to help us save money, and to get us the best product,” says Superintendent Eric Gallien.

The plan calls for additions and or renovations to most of the district’s buildings that are slated to stay open. There are no plans to close any academic programs, but some are set to move, consolidate or expand.

Phase One, at a cost of more than $400 million, is to be completed over the next five or six years. The planned work would address life safety, Americans with Disabilities Act mandates and deferred maintenance.

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