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County UU school site still in question

The Hudson School District is still waiting for word from the City of Hudson about whether it would be legal for the city to bring public utilities to property owned by the district that is under consideration as a new secondary school site.

The property on County UU near the Hudson Soccer Complex is currently part of the Town of Hudson. In previous talks with the district, the city has indicated that they would consider bringing utilities to the property but made no commitment. Within the last couple of months, the district has asked the city to undertake a feasibility study to determine first, if the move could be legally done, and second, what it would cost.

The school board voted last month to have the city first consider if they could legally bring the utilities to the property without annexing township property adjacent to the UU site. If it is legal, the city would then determine the technical feasibility of the project and what it would cost.

According to Director of Financial Services Tim Erickson told the board at their October meeting that the answer to the legal question should come within the next two weeks. Depending on that answer, the city would undertake the second part of the question but an estimate of when that report would be ready was not available.

In the meantime, the district has already contracted for soil borings on the site to determine if an onsite septic and water system is possible as well as consulting with the state of Wisconsin about site’s feasibility.

The reports are expected to be available by a special Oct. 29 board meeting.

According to a calendar drawn up by district administration, the board would like to bring a referendum to fund a new secondary school before voters in August or November 2014.

In the event the city says no to the proposal on either legal or technical grounds, the board approved three criteria for looking at alternative property sites for a new school. They included:

--access to city utilities preferable but other factors may be determined to have higher priority.

--site that could accommodate outdoor physical education space and practice fields but may or may not accommodate varsity fields.

--site size with approximately 56 useable acres that could accommodate a three-year secondary school.

The majority of the members of the board’s Facilities and Grounds Committee supported a plan for 550 students per grade level at both the middle and high school levels.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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