Area school expansion slated to begin in less than a month - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Area school expansion slated to begin in less than a month

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - As students work on addition, their school will be adding on.  Thursday night the Chippewa Falls school board set February 10th as the start date for an expansion of Southview Elementary.

Along with a space crunch, Southview Elementary in Chippewa Falls is under a time crunch. "We're doing this in a compressed timeline because Southview is already at capacity and in the last 10 years has grown by 100 students," explains Dr. Brad Saron, the Superintendent of the Chippewa Falls School District.

And that growth isn't expected to end anytime soon. Southview Elementary Principal, Sara Denure, says, "Right now the only available spot that we have is the teacher's lounge which we're looking to possibly use as some other space this year yet, to accommodate our students."

Construction to solve the problem is slated to begin February 10th.  The project will take the school from a two section elementary, to three.  Saron says, "We're targeting to have most of the construction done hopefully by the beginning of the school year."

He says the new construction is estimated at $3.9 million and renovations to expand existing classrooms will cost $1.5 million. "Thankfully we've been a financially responsible district; we're not going to have to go to referendum to pay for this," says Denure.  

The money will come from the general fund and be paid for over two fiscal years, a budget surplus and, "We also have access to some federal monies that are directed toward serving students with special needs that would serve that those sections of the project that are appropriate for students with disabilities," explains Saron.  

The plan is to move the early childhood special education program from Korger-Chestnut to Southview.

The expansion will also allow space for smaller groups of children to receive extra attention. Denure says, "Those smaller intervention spaces will allow room for groups from 2 - 8 to work together with a teacher and just to hone in on the skills they need extra support in."

Southview Elementary says it believes expansion in Lake Hallie is why they've seen so much growth.  Denure says, "We have one side of 124 that's within the Southview boundaries and the other side goes to Halmstad. Both sides are expanding. Halmstad is very full as well."

Southview says it doesn't believe it will have to move any children from their classrooms in the midst of construction.  Southview underwent an expansion just two years ago, when two special education classrooms were added along with a mechanical room. 

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