By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer
WESTON, Wis. – Teachers and staff at Weston Elementary are hoping a proposed referendum will help make it safer for students at pick up and drop off time.
If passed, the D.C. Everest School district is planning on spending part of the proposed $59.8 million referendum to create a new secure entrance for Weston Elementary, and a new place for buses and parents to pick up and drop off students.
Principal Sarah Trimner says that when the school was originally built, Camp Phillips Road was just a sleepy two-lane county road.
“This was built with the intention of being a small neighborhood school, and now it’s still a neighborhood school but now we’re on a main thoroughfare,” Trimner said.
Trimner says the proposed construction would move the entrance of the building to Sternberg Avenue and expand the size of both the parking lot for parents and busses.
“It’s very crunched,” she said. “There’s tons of people in a small area. We have lots of traffic flow issues in our parking lots which isn’t safe for students either.”
Education assistant Peg Piepenburg says that parents also sometimes have to park far away from the entrances of the school when they come to pick up students, which presents safety issues as well when children walk to meet their parents.
She says children can be out of sight from staff on their way to get picked up, and when parents can’t make it, they have to come back to the school.
“So if we had a bigger spot where families could meet their child in a safe environment inside the school, that could solve a lot of safety issues,” Trimner said.
Another major project will be the construction of a new ‘cafetorium’ for the building. That multipurpose room will serve as a cafeteria, assembly room, and recess space for students, allowing staff the time and space to use the gymnasium for physical education classes.
“We have to totally build our learning schedule around lunch,” says Trimner, “so we can only use the gym space for education for a limited amount of time during the day.”
Other changes to the school would include renovated classrooms to better allow for teaching and give students the space they need to learn, and central air and heating. That alone can make for a better environment for students according to Trimner.
“You can see it on the kids’ faces when the temperatures are 85 degrees in the 4th and 5th grade wing,” Trimner said. “Our kids are not learning their best. They’re tired, they’re lethargic, they’re not thinking about learning.”
Learn more about the school referendum and the district’s needs online at https://www.dce.k12.wi.us/