Spring report will influence future facilities

Matching what other area schools have is no guarantee

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Schools all around Northeast Wisconsin seem to be getting upgrades. 

Bay Port High School spent $2.8 million on their weight room in 2021, and West De Pere completed their new indoor facility this year. 

So what about De Pere? Where is the new weight room, indoor facility and fancy stadium? 

Well, De Pere may have bigger needs at hand. 

“As nice as it would be to have the indoor facility that West De Pere has or the brand new fancy weight room, it doesn’t make sense for being fiscally responsible as a district to go ahead and approve something like that if we do not know what our long-term future is going to be,” said school board member Chad Jeskewitz. 

The city of De Pere continues to grow more and more every year. With new houses and more students entering our school district, rooms in schools are beginning to get crowded. 

Even after re-doing the lines for the elementary schools, both Dickinson and Heritage are only under capacity by a small amount. As for Foxview and De Pere Middle School, both are over capacity. 

De Pere High School is not far behind, being only 40 students under. 

So, how does the growth of De Pere affect what type of equipment and buildings the school district is getting? With so many students, there is only one thing left to do: expand. 

With the number of students in lower grades getting larger and larger, the school board has to look at what the future needs. 

“There is just a huge wave of students coming up from both the middle school and elementary schools.  At some point in time, we will run out of space in the high school,” Jeskewitz said.

A report about a long-term facility plan will be given to the school board Spring of 2023. This report will show what the school board needs to invest money in and what the big challenges at the moment are and how they can be addressed.

“It will all come down to the report we get back next spring as far as what is needed,” Jeskewitz said. “They are going to be looking at all the facilities, trying to understand over the next 5-10 years what is going to need to be done to make sure that they are not only up to date but also operational and functional.”

This could mean adding onto the middle and high school, even the possibility of a new high school being built in the future, according to school board member Adam Clayton. 

“If there are things that everyone rallies around and says, ‘This is something we want’ then we will continue to look into that in the future,” Clayton said. 

Jeskewitz said that the school board members frequently hear from parents through phone calls and emails about wanting what neighboring schools are receiving. 

However, the board will have to balance needs and wants. 

“(The needs) are the first priority,” Clayton said.

So what can we expect for the future of De Pere schools? Both Clayton and Jeskewitz mentioned the possibility of a referendum for buildings and facilities. 

“We want to become a destination district even more than we are today,” Jeskewitz said.