$23,000,000 improvement plan for the School District of Black River Falls will appear on ballots.

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 8:52 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The School District of Black River Falls has proposed a referendum that will appear on voter’s ballots this year.

Phase one of a long-range improvement plan for Black River Falls was complete in 2016. Now, community members have the chance to vote on a 23 million dollar phase two, this November.

Shelly Severson, Black River Falls School Superintendent told WEAU,

“It would benefit all students because we currently have to spend significant dollars out of our maintenance budget on these aging infrastructure systems … the bulk of the infrastructure piece is to put in a new water heater in the high school.”

Beyond that, district-wide, infrastructure upgrades will be made such as replacing windows and portions of the roof at the early learning center, and upgrading the heat and ventilation at the middle school.

High school principal, Tom Chambers, says he is most anticipating the plan to create a new space for band, choir and art classes.

“If that becomes a reality that’s really going to support the growing need in our school to provide better facilities for band, choir, art and particularly also the student reporting labs.”

While there are many improvements planned, and 23 million dollars is a huge amount of money, Severson and Chambers say it will not affect taxpayers.

“It’s hard to believe we are able to do this kind of a project and have it not impact taxpayers,” Chambers said.

“The board has taken a very intentional strategy to pay off debt early so that we can take on new debt and extend the life of a loan but the payments stay exactly the same,” said Severson.

If this referendum passes, Chambers says the planning will begin immediately, and in the early months of 2021 renovations will be underway.

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