APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — Voters overwhelmingly approved more than $135 million in referendums on November 8th. Today, projects are already underway that district officials say will impact every student in the district.
"It goes all the way back to 2016 when we started looking at our school's capacity. At that time, 11 of our 16 elementary schools were over capacity, so were 3 of our 4 middle schools, and all of our high schools."
AASD Superintendent, Greg Hartjes says 22 of the district's 27 schools are more than 50 years old.
"We've definitely looked at the capacity of Huntley (Elementary School) where the students now attend, and that school is already 100 students above capacity and that's also where the growth is," says Hartjes.
District officials say the first priority is reducing class size by hiring 25 elementary school teachers this spring.
However, the bulk of the funds will be poured into renovations that will expand and update existing schools and the construction of a new elementary school on the city's northeast side.
Here's a closer look at the timeline of the biggest upcoming projects;
- Fall 2022-fall 2023 will be the planning phase.
- Fall 2024: Middle school expansion will be complete.
- Fall 2025: Construction for the new Elementary School near JJ and Lightening Drive will be completed and open for the school year.
These projects all hinge on shifting 6th graders to middle school by fall of 2024 to relieve overcrowding at district elementary schools.
The referendums also include updating the school's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) areas and improving security as needed.
"For us to be passing this referendum really means that are schools are going to be functional educationally for years to come," says Hartjes.
"We're excited that we are able to say every school will be impacted, every student will be impacted," he adds.