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Hudson Schools: Long-term secondary space planning continues

Submitted photo.

Currently, five grade configuration and building options are being studied to determine the best solution that the community will support to address the district's long-term space for learning needs for students in grades 6-12.

The district restarted long-term planning in October with a board work session that confirmed the criteria for making decisions on options that would best serve the learning needs of Hudson students.

The board at that time also reviewed information from the 2004 Facilities Task Force and decided to move the three preferred Task Force options forward for further study.

Additional options were brought forward by board members and community members through a district website survey, email communications, local media information, and open community meetings between November and December.

In December, the Board of Education reviewed 15 options that had been suggested during the open comment period. The board approved the following options for further review and comparison including estimated costs.

--Construct a four-year high school: Current high school converted to a grades 7-8 school; Current middle school converted to a grades 5-6 school.

--Construct a here-year high school: Current high school converted to a grades 8-9 school; Current middle school converted to a grades 6-7 school.

--Construct a grades 6-12 STEM school for 700 students: Current high school remains a grades 9-12; Current middle school remains a grades 6-8.

Additionally, the board stated they would consider any new options of promise that were suggested later. The only new grade configuration options that have since come forward from December were brought to the board in February by district administration as a way to decrease the number of school-to-school transitions for students in two of the options. The two additional options are similar and only differ in the size of the building to be constructed.

--Construct a three-year high school: Current high school converted to a grades 6-9 school; Current middle school converted to a grades 6-9 school.

--Construct a grades 6-9 school: Current high school converted to a grades 10-12 school; Current middle school converted to a grades 6-9 school.

With five options on the table for further consideration, the Board of Education selected Hoffman, LLC to provide architectural pre-referendum support services. A committee that included board members Tom Holland and Lynn Robson interviewed four architect firms and chose Hoffman based on their strong track record of success and $70,000 proposal. Hoffman's proposal for pre-referendum work to further study and evaluate the various secondary space options does not include a guarantee to provide final design services. A second interview process to select the actual design architect is planned following successful passage of a referendum to build. DLR, the second choice architectural firm for pre-referendum services, quoted their services as $188,000, again with no guarantee to provide final design work. The district is pleased to be working again with Hoffman, a Wisconsin firm which has extensive experience in sustainable construction design resulting in reduced operational costs long-term. Hoffman was the architect and construction manager for the award-winning River Crest Elementary and the middle school addition.

In regard to a site for a new secondary school, the district has turned its attention to the district-owned property on County UU and Crosby Drive in the town of Hudson. The size of school the site can support needs to be determined.

Currently, the property has no access to city utilities and an on-site waste water treatment system and well would be necessary to support a new school. Topographical challenges on the site could restrict the size of school on-site utilities could support. Access to city utilities would increase the property's capacity to support a larger school. The property has limitations but it can support a new school.

The initial questions for study are: How large can the new school be and what else can be located on the site? Therefore, the district plans to approach the city of Hudson, town of Hudson and St. Croix County to look at ways to work collaboratively to assess the potential of bringing city water and sewer to the site.

The Board of Education plans an extensive community engagement process that will include open community conversations about solutions, focus groups, an independent community survey, information sessions and board listening sessions.

This feedback process will begin when additional information becomes available about the option configurations and the site. Community members are always welcome to send questions and comments for administrators and the board to: Connections.

In the last referendum to purchase the St. Croix Meadows property, community members wanted to know what the final school would look like and what the construction costs would be.

The Board of Education has listened and will provide the community with this information as it becomes available. The board and administration are confident that the planned level of community feedback will lead the way to the next successful referendum to solve the community's secondary space for learning needs long-term. Investment in the future education of Hudson students will prepare them for the world they will enter as graduates. Please continue to follow the district's progress on solving long-term secondary space for learning needs at Hudson K12.