By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer
ROTHSCHILD, Wis. – D.C. Everest officials are hoping voters will approve a plan to replace and expand on 1960s construction at Rothschild Elementary School.
Principal Rena Sabey says her biggest concern with the building right now is handicapped accessibility.
“We have two floors that are only accessible through stairs because our bottom floor is built into the hill,” Sabey said.
That means during normal operation in the day, handicapped access between the floors can only be made by going outside and around the building through a set of unsecured doors to the playground.
There’s also an access issue getting into the music room, which used to be the stage of the gymnasium.
“That is elevated four steps up, so in order for students to get there to learn, they have to be able to climb stairs, or the music teacher has to bring her materials to the classroom,” Sabey explained
Part of the renovations for the building under the proposed referendum would include a new elevator for the facility.
Another major concern for Rothschild is the need for a dedicated cafeteria space. Right now, the building has to share that space with physical education classes in the gymnasium.
“In order to serve 437 kids lunch, you need a good two hour block, and that limits our classes,” Sabey said.
That means school breakfasts and lunches to first grade students are served in the hallway outside of the kitchen so that classes can take place in the gym.
The proposed expansion would also add a number of classrooms to the building, including several new kindergarten classes as well as new general purpose classrooms.
The school currently has 437 students, a number that is projected to increase to 447 next year.
“We’ve simply used every nook and cranny we have,” Slabey said.
School officials say they’re not considering busing students out of the building. Slabey said doing so would only increase their time on the bus and take away from teaching, while pulling students away from their siblings and neighbors.
The building also needs a better space for busing, and for parents to pick up and drop off kids in a secure and safe manner, Slabey said. Right now, parents and buses are all crowding in around the entrance and streets around the school, making it an unsafe place for students as well as residents just trying to get around.
A proposed expansion would create new parking and a new bus lane, and allow for controlled exits for students who walk, take busses and have parents pick them up.
Learn more about the school referendum and the district’s needs online at https://www.dce.k12.wi.us/refe