Additions coming to Holmen High School after referendum passes

HOLMEN, Wis. (WEAU) -- While most of the attention during Tuesday's midterm election was on federal and state races, there were plenty of local questions on the ballot that could have a major impact.

In Holmen, residents saw a question on the ballot asking for $23.5 million to make improvements to Holmen High School.

"In Holmen, our goal is really to make sure that we provide for our residents that we have in the school district of Holmen and we meet those needs of those students," said Holmen School District Administrator Dr. Kristin Mueller.

Mueller says the renovations and additions are needed because the school is simply running out of space having an impact on PE classes and the fine arts, among others.

"The space that we have, we're just tapped out we're at maximum capacity. We lose instructional time everyday because it takes the kids so long to get their instruments out and get ready and then we lose time at the end of the class period because it takes them so long to shuffle in and out and take their turn at the lockers," said Holmen High School Band Director Michelle Jensen.

That will soon change as 67 percent of voters in Holmen agreed to have the district bond the money.

This referendum was the largest amount of money the school district has ever asked for and it was also the greatest percentage of "yes" the school district has seen on a referendum in its history.

"What it tells us is our community really cares about our students and it tells us that they are our partners in that they trust us and that we're going to work together to make sure that we can deliver what our students need," said Mueller.

Holmen High School last saw a major renovation in 2000, and many in the building are looking forward to the small things.

"I'm excited for all the people that come to our concerts to have a seat," laughed Jensen. "We often have people standing in the aisles."

Holmen residents also approved a referendum to fund operational costs of the new facilities.

Taxes will not increase with the referendum, as Holmen will add a new fine arts center, gym and more.

Along with renovating the lunch area and student services, among other spaces.

The project will take place in five phases and officials hope it can be finished by Dec. 2020.