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Verona Area School District Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for New High School Project

Jennifer Hier
May 15, '18 12:42 PM EST
Copyright: Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA)
Copyright: Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA)

Verona, WI, April 23, 2018 - Just over a year ago, voters in the Verona Area School District (VASD) approved a nearly $183 million referendum to build a new high school on district-owned land at highway 18/151 and West Verona Avenue. Now, a year later, and after countless additional board meetings, community workshops/listening sessions, staff meetings, and student engagement activities, the time has arrived to break ground for the new Verona Area High School!

The District invites families, staff, students and the community to celebrate the groundbreaking on April 24, starting at 4pm at the new site, located behind West End Circle (off W. Verona Avenue). Attendees can park on West End Circle with overflow on Half Mile Road, which leads up to West End Circle.

Come experience the ceremonial “first dig” by the Board of Education and project team with actual construction equipment onsite! High school freshmen, who will serve as the first senior class in the new school, will share their excitement, along with remarks from the Board of Education President Noah Roberts, District Superintendent Dean Gorrell and High School Principal Pam Hammen.

Adding some Wildcat fun to the ceremony will be the high school wildcat mascot joining high school student instrumentalists and vocalists who will be greeting ceremony attendees, while savory treats will be served by the high school culinary team! Also on site is the core project team, consisting of the construction manager, J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc., the architect team, Eppstein Uhen Architects, as well as District staff, administrators, and the full Board of Education. Lastly, the Visionary Design Team will be featured, as this group of high school staff worked diligently with the core project team over the past summer and throughout this school year to offer input on their desires for the new design, while also communicating the process to, and taking input from, their peers back in the high school.

For nearly a decade the District has been evaluating its growth. After two years of intensive study, planning, and broad input from the community, the Board approved a comprehensive K-12 facilities plan that honors VASD’s educational mission while addressing current crowding and projected growth of over 1600 additional resident students by 2030.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, I want to thank all of our staff, students, families and the community for working so deliberately us,” said School Board President Noah Roberts. “Their participation throughout the facilities planning and design process, as well as the strong voter turnout, was instrumental in shaping our comprehensive K-12 plan,” added Roberts.

The questions on the ballot also provided funding to renovate classroom spaces within two existing facilities, carry out district-wide maintenance, construct a new swimming pool and outdoor athletic competition fields as well as provide operational funding of $2.3 million (annually) for costs associated with the new facilities and grounds. The work on renovating the two existing facilities will now begin as the new high school is entering the actual construction phase.

“While countless hours have been spent in meetings focusing on the new high school, the groundbreaking ceremony is a tribute to the collaborative efforts of an entire community making this happen,” said Superintendent Dean Gorrell. “We are committed to building opportunity and equitable learning environments that serve the needs of all students while working in partnership with our community.”

Information and updates on the design process and construction timeline for projects is available at verona.k12.wi.us/Buildingfor2020.