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School Board Updated on Elementary School Design

MIDDLETON–The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School Board reviewed the latest design schematic for the new elementary school planned near the Pope Farm Conservancy. The new elementary school is part of a multi building expansion plan approved by voters in a 2018 referendum for $138.9 million.

Superintendent George Mavroulis said he was thrilled on the progress made.

“The work continues,” Mavroulis said. “I think every time we see a more refined version it is just so exciting.”

Architects for the project, Robin Savola and Mike Schwindenhammer of Eppstein Uhen Architects, presented the latest revisions for the elementary school at the board’s Feb. 4 meeting. They also detailed plans for remodeling the kitchen at Sauk Trail Elementary.

The Sauk Trail kitchen remodel is expected to start right after school is out and be done in late July or early August, Schwindenhammer said. 

School board president Bob Green said the kitchen project has been on hold in hopes of the referendum passing to fund it.

“The kitchen was to the point that if anything had broken down it would have required a permit and we would no longer be grandfathered in,” Green said.

Green said the district narrowly missed a crisis and he was thankful it was finally being taken care of.

Director of business services Lori Ames said because of construction, the summer food program, which provides free lunch to students, will be held at the high school.

Schwindenhammer described the new elementary school’s design starting with the parking. He said the City of Madison will not allow parking directly in front of the school like the original plan called for though the revised plan has separate parent and bus drop off lanes.

Green asked about what the capacity of the parking lot will be. Schwindenhammer said there will be about 120 parking stalls on the south side of the building and 30 more adjacent for overflow parking. Superintendent George Mavroulis said there will be 80 district employees, which should leave a surplus of stalls for visitors.

Schwindenhammer noted that the parking can be expanded should the district build a middle school on the property in the future.

Savola said the architects have met with principals, teachers and other staff members to design ideas and requests. She said they’ve developed a pollinators theme that will be used throughout the building. 

The school will be two stories with third and fourth grade on the first floor and all others on the second floor. First and second graders and third and fourth graders will share a bubble classroom. 

There will also be small rooms that could be used for group instruction, counselors or specialists, deescalation or sensory rooms between every two classrooms. Each grade will also have three bathrooms.

EUA provided rendered draft images of the building. The exterior will be brick and metal though the colors are yet to be determined, Schwindenhammer said. 

Mavroulis pointed out that the purchase agreement for the land near Pope Farm Conservancy includes an elevation limitation restriction. The Pope family, whom it was purchased from, didn't want a building blocking views from the conservancy to Lake Mendota or the State Capitol, Mavroulis said. 

The planned building height is 10 feet higher than the limitation, meaning the district would need to build a 20-foot retaining wall at a cost of about $1,000,000, Mavroulis said.

The district reached out to the Pope family to see if they would allow the additional height. Mavroulis said they would be amenable if the school is named Pope Farm Elementary School and if a middle school is built that would also have the namesake.

"This is really a win, win, win, win,'' Mavroulis said.

Cameron Bren
Middleton Cross-Plains Times Tribune

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