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Aging Buildings Creating Dilemma for Wisconsin School District
Declining enrollment and aging buildings are forcing a Wisconsin school district to make some difficult decisions over the next few years.
La Crosse, Wisconsin, a city of about 52,000 residents located in the western part of the state on the Mississippi River, has seen school district enrollment go down by about 1,400 students over the last 20 years. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue, according to TV station WKBT.
Because the district consists of aging buildings — the station says that five of the buildings are more than 80 years old — officials are considering merging some schools and reducing the number of buildings needed to accommodate the need to address the declining numbers and maintenance. The article said that maintenance costs to address the district’s six oldest buildings will cost in excess of $30 million.
School officials say they are only in the exploratory stages of what’s next for the district and that any decisions on the future steps could be years in the making. The district is planning to survey community members at some point, setting the state for a potential referendum eventually on how to proceed.
Dave Lubach is managing editor, Facility Market.