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District lays out plans for $1.5 million in facility improvements

Dec. 23, 2013

Several district schools could see upgrades in the next school year, according to the district's plan for facility improvements that includes more than $1.5 for 2014-15.

Each of the high school biology labs, two at East and two at West, would be upgraded next school year at a cost of $640,000, under the plan presented by Grounds Manager Tom Kulczewski to the School Board Dec. 9.

The next priciest project would be a re-roofing job on the office commons, and auditorium at Wauwatosa West, coming in at $615,000.

Kulczewski also hopes to replace the boiler at Whitman, which has been in the building since its construction. It has been cracking and had to have five repairs last year, Kulczewski said. The replacement would cost $140,000.

At Underwood, two sets of steps on the back and west sides of the building Kulczewski called a "safety hazard" are slotted for replacement next school year for $135,000.

Hopeful for more funds

With the closure of a tax incremental financing district on the horizon meaning a potential gain of $2.5 million to $4 million for the Wauwatosa School District in about two years, there could be more funds available for facilities projects.

District Superintendent Phil Ertl previously said it would be "kind of one-time money," not able to cover ongoing costs. He said it could help cover the needs identified for building improvements.

In presenting his plan, Kulczewski added a sort of wish list of what he would do if he had an extra $500,000. He suggested replacing the PA system at Longfellow, and potentially at other schools. He identified McKinley, Washington and East as needing masonry improvements to fix problems like deteriorating bricks. A waterproof wall for the leaking basement at Jefferson also made the list.

The full docket of identified needs is almost 120 items long with a total cost of about $19 million, but Kulczewski said some of the projects could be ten years out. The list includes $1 million for soccer turf at Whitman, another $1 million for turf at West's stadium field, and $1.5 million to replace West's parking lot.

All projects would have to come back to the School Board for approval before moving forward.

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