Closure Of South Beaver Dam Recommended In Facility Study

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam School Board will soon be deciding whether or not to close South Beaver Dam Elementary School. The administration is recommending the change based on the results of a facilities study that says, among other things, that the rural school should be consolidated with Jefferson Elementary starting in the 2020-21 school year. No decision was made when the plan was presented to the school board at a workshop meeting Monday night.

The facilities study by Zimmerman Architectural Studios identified $12-million dollars in maintenance needs at all district buildings, except the high school, over the next five years. That includes $1.6-million dollars invested in Jefferson to accommodate the increased student body. South Beaver Dam would need $900-thousand dollars. Another $3.9-million dollars would be spent updating the Middle School along with $1.7-million at Washington Elementary, $1.3-million at Lincoln Elementary and $1.2-million at Wilson Elementary. The study also recommends closing the Educational Service Center and there would be no immediate plan to build a new facility for administrative staff; maintenance costs there are estimated at 700-thousnad dollars.

Director of Business Services Anne-Marie Malkovich says the administration recommends the borrowing of $6-million dollars in new debt to get work started this year and another $3-million in borrowing in three years. The district would not have to go to referendum to borrow for the maintenance costs if the debt payments can be made within the annual budget while staying under existing state revenue limits. The public would have a 30-day window to request a referendum through a petition with 7500 signatures or 20-percent of the total votes cast in the last gubernatorial election.

The closing of South Beaver Dam would save a minimum of around $130-thousand dollars, not counting transportation and food service costs. No layoffs would be planned, and all personnel reductions would come through attrition. The school board will consider the Facility Plan Recommendation as early as their June 10th regular meeting.