Clintonville School Board hears two options
By Bert Lehman
The Clintonville School Board heard two potential options relating to the future of the Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School in Clintonville.
Steve Reinke, buildings and grounds director for the Clintonville School District, presented the options to the board at its May 8 meeting. The options were developed by the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
When determining the options, Reinke said the committee considered the age of the buildings, the age of the roofs, what recent updates were done, and what things would need updating. The committee also toured the new elementary school in Shawano, and the remodeled Olga Brener School in Shawano.
Reinke said the committee decided that over the next two to three years the district should consider two options.
He said the first option is to obtain pricing and information on remodeling the entire Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School, including the 1918 portion of the complex.
“Taking our time, getting information from citizens, getting a lot of information from architects and teachers and staff, so we know that for the next 30 years we’re going to remodel that building right,” Reinke said, “not just do bandaid [repairs].”
He added that everything in the building will be inspected including the heating systems, windows, electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning.
The second option includes remodeling the newer section of the building complex and tearing down the 1918 portion of the building.
Under both options, Reinke said the district would take its time and seek input from the public.
“So when it does come a couple of years from now in a referendum, that we got all the information, we got public support or a direction from the public so that we can pass that referendum and then start the process of building,” Reinke said.
Board President Ben Huber said the district considered a complete remodel several years ago. He guessed the cost wouldn’t be cheaper now.
Huber asked if the committee discussed remodeling versus constructing a new building.
Clintonville School District Superintendant Tom O’Toole said the committee felt getting support for a new building had been tried in the past and the community said no.
Huber said he thought if complete system updates were to be done under either option, the cost would be high.
“To do that all at once, that’s going to be a pretty big pill to swallow,” Huber said.
O’Toole said Reinke is now treating the Rexford/Longfellow Elementary School with the 1918 portion as one building rather than separate sections.
“Ultimately if you fix one portion and don’t do anything with the other two we’re going to be back in the same boat,” O’Toole said. “… We’re always chasing these three structures rather than making everything better.”
Board member Jim Dins said when considering the long-term aspects to the district, it would be better to tear down the Dellwood building and build a new two-story grade school on that site.
O’Toole said that referendum was defeated in 2009.
“We’ve been kicking this around for how many years, and that’s the answer,” Dins said. “It’s not sticking millions and millions of dollars into a chain of buildings.”
O’Toole said the committee also took into consideration that the debt on the high school will be paid off in a few years, so another school building could be addressed at that time, while keeping the tax levy relatively the same.
Information will continue to be gathered regarding long-term plans for the district’s school buildings.