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Crimson Aviator

Proposed new high school building is several years away

Results of community survey coming Dec. 4; referendums could be set after that

A new building – after 45 years – could be in the works.

The proposed referendum for a new high school in the De Pere school district will most likely not be built in time for any current De Pere students to go to school at the new building.

However, De Pere school board president Adam Clayton believes that it is important for high school students to care about the future of their district, even after they graduate. The current high school building was built in 1978. 

“You guys as high schoolers don’t get to see the benefit of the school directly such as being able to attend it,” Clayton says, “but one of the things that I think is a guiding principle of public education is that good public education benefits everyone long term.”

In mid-October 2023, the Unified School District of De Pere sent out a community survey regarding the referendum for change in De Pere. The district asked for the early input of the community in order to gather feedback on how the referendum might turnout in the near future. 

The main purpose of the survey was to address the finances, capacity, and aging building systems. Results of the survey will be shared at the school board meeting on Dec. 4. 

“There’s definitely some different perspectives on how to facilitate learning in the community,” Clayton said. “The data that we have shows that we do have capacity issues and needs within our existing buildings so some opportunities for expansion or a new building is warranted based on the data that we see.”

A referendum date has not been set, but officials predict that if it passes, a new high school would not be accessible until anywhere from 2027 to 2029. 

The referendum has been split up into the budget for the operations and a plan for the facilities. The facilities referendum addresses the possibility of building a new high school that could better hold De Pere’s growing population. Meanwhile, the referendum for the operations discusses the budget for technology, maintenance and activities inside the schools.

While these referendums are being proposed at the same time, they are not directly connected, The school board could choose to pass neither, both or just one of them.

Projections for a total cost of these referendums are in the area of $200 million. This would be a financial commitment for many De Pere taxpaying homeowners. 

Superintendent Dr. Thompson said, “The hard part is understanding that the facilities or capital referendum questions have a significant impact because many of the houses in De Pere are over $300,000 if not over $500,000.”

Although this tax increase could negatively affect the community, Dr. Thompson believes that the school will gain enough support from community members. 

“The additional taxes being added on to the housing becomes a large impact,” he said. “That’s a significant tax increase, so that could be a hard sell for the community. However, if the community understands the urgency, the concerns, and the big picture of all of this together, I am confident that the community is going to respond in a positive way.” 


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Alaster Bowles
Alaster Bowles, Reporter
Alaster Bowles enters his second year of both high school and journalism class, excited to write informative articles for the  newspaper. In school, he enjoys studying English and Science. Other than writing for the DPHS school paper, Al spends his time playing guitar, exploring local bands and spending quality time with his close friends.      
Lilly Bristol
Lilly Bristol, Reporter
Lilly Bristol is a sophomore who is a part of the school's newspaper. This is her second year taking journalism, and she plans on taking it for the other two years as well. She participates in many activities including dance, Jam Session, and band. After high school, she would like to enter the journalism world and write for a newspaper.  

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    Ryan hutjensFeb 24, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    Interesting read. Ive always heard that the new school was supposed to be built on G just south of Bower Creek Rd on the north west corner of the round a bout. The district owns 23 acres there but rumor always was was that they bought that land not knowing there was a gas line underneath and couldn’t build over it. I don’t know how much they paid per acre, but I know they paid 40k an acre just for the land Altmeyer is on. There’s about 40 acres there the district owns. They bought that land from Irv Peeters in 2007 I think. Irv bought that in the 80s when land was cheap. I think someone told me it was 300 dollars an acre then. I guess the district approached him with the 40k an acre offer and he wasn’t sure if he wanted it at first. He was asking the neighboring farmers what they thought because he was worried he wasn’t going to have enough ground to feed his cows! They all told him he was crazy to not take the money. If that’s the case and DePere needs to buy more land to build a school, the longer they wait, the more money it’s going to cost. Who knows maybe they will have to pay 100k an acre just to build a new highschool