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How did the Facilities Planning process begin?

The school district began long range facilities planning discussions in the fall of 2014 to address three key challenges facing our community:

  1. Aging buildings with infrastructure needs.

  2. School buildings that are over capacity at the Elementary and High School levels.

  3. The need for modern learning environments in all school buildings that accommodate all learners.

In addition to establishing a Facilities Vision Statement, the school board identified specific criteria for long-range planning: 

OASD School Board Vision for Facilities:

We will provide flexible, safe, healthy spaces where students, teachers and technology work together in modern, energy-efficient facilities benefiting the entire community.

School Board Project Drivers

  • Data Driven Decisions

  • Equity

  • Community Support

  • Universal Design for Learning

  • Cost-Benefit & Energy Efficiency

  • Flexible & Adaptable Facilities for Future Use

  • Safety & Security

  • Impact on Operational Budget

What was the process for the Facilities Advisory Committee and community engagement?

The Process

The Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC), a volunteer citizen group composed of residents, parents, seniors, staff, business and municipal leaders formed in January 2015. The FAC’s objective is to review, assess, and prioritize identified facility needs throughout the district using the criteria defined above as a guide. Ultimately, the FAC will provide input on the development of a community-wide survey to gather broad feedback and will present advisory recommendations to the administration, school board, and the OASD community in the fall of 2015.

From January through June 2015, the FAC and school board met twice a month and learned from experts both inside and outside of the school district, including staff, administrators, educators, researchers, architects and construction managers. Each learning session helped committee members understand deferred maintenance, population growth and projections, building capacities, modern learning environments (Universal Design for Learning) and budget implications. 

In 2014, OASD utilized an independent consulting firm to conduct a comprehensive facilities study.  The facilities study is an objective analysis of OASD’s schools and sites. It includes a study of building infrastructure, systems and site conditions, building capacity and utilization, and the adequacy of learning spaces.

In January 2015, the district convened the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC), a volunteer citizen group composed of residents, parents, seniors, staff, business and municipal leaders.  The FAC’s objective was to review, assess, and prioritize identified facility needs throughout the district using the criteria defined above as a guide. Ultimately, the FAC provided input on the development of a community-wide survey to gather broad feedback and presented advisory recommendations to the administration, school board, and the OASD community.

From January through June 2015, the FAC and school board met approximately twice a month and learned from experts both inside and outside of the school district, including staff, administrators, educators, researchers, architects and construction managers. Each learning session helped committee members understand deferred maintenance, population growth and projections, building capacities, modern learning environments (Universal Design for Learning) and budget implications. Click here for access to all the FAC meeting summaries and other materials

In spring of 2016, the broader community was asked to provide its feedback via a district-wide survey of residents.  The survey, completed by more than 2,400 people, indicated that preliminary solutions totaling approximately $95 million were not supported by the majority of school district residents. As a result, the school board carefully prioritized and made significant reductions, reducing the total project scope and cost by $40 million to a total cost of not to exceed $54.9 million.  

The school board authorized the final referendum language at its July 19 meeting

 

 

What are the most critical needs identified for our facilities?

CAPACITY AND ENROLLMENT GROWTH

OASD serves approximately 5,300 4K-12 students in eight school buildings. Student enrollment in OASD increased by nearly 1,000 students between 2005 and 2015, which is an increase of approximately 23%. This growth has directly impacted our existing buildings, resulting in three schools now being functionally overcapacity. Today, Meadow View Elementary is over capacity by 75 students and Ixonia Elementary is over capacity by 68 students. Each school has installed two portable, temporary trailers to serve as classrooms until a long-range solution is in place. Oconomowoc High School is now also over its functional capacity by 58 students. This year's freshman class at OHS is the largest ever.

To better understand how continuing community growth and development may impact future enrollment, the district hired an independent community planning firm, MDRoffers Consulting, to conduct an enrollment projection in the summer of 2015. Their report projects districtwide student enrollment will continue to increase by approximately 544 students by 2025, with all five elementary schools over capacity and the most significant growth at the High School level. Click here to view the complete MDRoffers Community Growth Projections Report for OASD.

Key findings from the study include:

  • OASD serves portions of 13 different municipalities, and the majority of new home development is in the City of Oconomowoc, Town of Ixonia, and Village of Summit.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 homes expected to exist by 2025 are already built today. What happens in existing housing is far more impactful on future enrollment than potential future housing.
  • 2 of our 5 elementary schools are currently over capacity and have temporary trailer classrooms
  • All 5 elementary schools are projected to be over current capacity by 2025.
  • Enrollment growth is projected to be the greatest at the Intermediate and High School levels over the next 10 years.
  • Total 4K-12 student enrollment is projected to increase by 544 students in OASD schools between 2015 and 2025.
  • By 2025, Oconomowoc High School is projected to have more than 300 students above its current capacity.
  • By 2025, Nature Hill Intermediate School is projected to have more than 100 students above its current capacity.

 

AGING BUILDINGS AND CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE

We have significant infrastructure and maintenance needs district-wide, particularly at Meadow View Elementary, Ixonia Elementary and the High School. High priority issues include heating, ventilation and cooling systems, asbestos abatement, roofs, fire alarm and security systems, window and door replacements, and repairs to building exteriors and parking lots.

Detailed information about each sites’ maintenance needs can be found in the McKinstry facilities study, conducted in 2014. Click here to view the facilities study.


MODERN LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

Teaching and learning has changed significantly in the last 50 years. Our classrooms need to be renovated to meet the needs of students today and into the future.

  • Appropriate spaces are needed for specialized services that did not exist when our buildings were built like special education and speech/physical/occupational therapies
  • Cafeteria and gym spaces are undersized for what is now required to meet instructional and community needs
  • Curricular changes have impacted the types and sizes of classrooms needed for the most suitable areas to support flexible teaching, learning and collaboration

How old are OASD school buildings?

The average age of our elementary schools is approximately 50 years old. Our intermediate schools are 8 years old (completed in 2008). Oconomowoc High School is 50 years old (dedicated in November 1965).  We have significant infrastructure and maintenance needs district-wide, particularly at Meadow View Elementary, Ixonia Elementary and the High School. High priority issues include heating and ventilation systems, asbestos abatement, roofs, fire alarm and security systems, window and door replacements, and repairs to building exteriors and parking lots.

Detailed information about each sites’ maintenance needs can be found in the McKinstry facilities study, conducted in 2014.  

Click here to view the complete MDRoffers Community Growth Projections Report for OASD.

  • Greenland Elementary - 56 yrs old

  • Ixonia Elementary- 59 years old - two portable classrooms

  • Meadow View Elementary - building is 53 years old - two portable classrooms

  • Park Lawn Elementary- 65 years old

  • Silver Lake & Nature Hill Intermediates - 8 years old

  • Summit Elementary - 13 years old

  • Oconomowoc High School - 50 years old

How much are our schools currently over capacity?

Per studies conducted in fall 2015 during the planning process, three schools were identified as over capacity based on functional capacity calculations:

  • Meadow View Elementary - over by 75 students. Two temporary trailers house 5K classrooms.

  • Ixonia Elementary - over by 49 students. Two temporary trailers house 4th grade classrooms.

  • Oconomowoc High School - over by 58 students. No temporary trailers.

 

To view the FAC presentation on building capacity from March 2015, click here.

We will know our current enrollment for the 2016-17 school year by end of September 2016. 

What is the projected enrollment growth for OASD?

Click here to view the complete MDRoffers Community Growth Projections Report for OASD.

 

OASD Student Enrollment

Projected Ten Year Change

Functional Capacity of School 3

Sept. 2015

Projected 2020 2

Projected 2025 2

Elementary Schools 1

Greenland

432

479

510

+78

414

Ixonia

264

234

214

-50

196

Meadow View

505

496

530

+25

430

Park Lawn

430

417

447

+17

444

Summit

502

479

512

+10

503

Total Grades 4K-4

2,133

2,105

2,213

+80

 

Intermediate Schools 1

Nature Hill

814

901

973

+159

872

Silver Lake

718

741

775

+57

872

Total Grades 5-8

1,532

1,642

1,748

+216

 

High School

Total Grades 9-12

1,575

1,731

1,823

+248

1,517

TOTALS 4K-12

5,240

5,478

5,785

+544

 

Download PDF of this data. 

Notes:

1- Projections assume no changes to elementary school or intermediate school attendance areas from 2015-16 attendance areas.

2 - Projected 2020 and 2025 enrollments assume open-enrollment-out of OASD residents, private schooling, and home schooling at similar rates as in 2015; and do not consider any open enrollment of non-OASD residents into OASD schools.

3 - Functional capacities are per Eppstein Uhen Architects, based on minimum square footage of space per student calculations, not including any trailer classrooms.

Enrollment data source: MDRoffers Community Growth Report, Oct. 2015.

 

How is the district planning for growth around Summit Elementary?

The district hired an independent community planning firm, MDRoffers Consulting, to conduct an enrollment projection study in the summer of 2015. The goal was to better understand how community growth and development may impact future enrollment.

 Click here to view the complete MDRoffers Community Growth Projections Report.

The MDRoffers study projects enrollment will continue to increase district-wide by approximately 544 students in 10 years, by the year 2025. Additionally, the study found that enrollment growth is projected to be the greatest at the Intermediate and High School levels over the next 10 years.

When the study was conducted last fall, the researchers included a 200-lot residential development in Pabst Farms in their calculations. Since then, the project has been formally approved as a 350-lot development. This is likely a 10-year buildout time frame. It is important to know that nearly 9 out of 10 homes expected to exist by 2025 are already built today. What happens in existing housing is far more impactful on future enrollment than potential future housing. 

Here is what we know now about Summit Elementary:

  • When the growth study was conducted last fall, Summit had 502 students enrolled.

  • The current functional capacity at Summit is 503 students.

  • The 5-year projection shows a slight decrease, and forecasts enrollment of 479 by the year 2020.

  • The 10-year projection shows a slight increase, and forecasts enrollment of 512 by the year 2025.

The district is keeping a close eye on the pace of Pabst Farms development and how it could potentially impact Summit Elementary School. The district is commited to open and transparent communication with residents as it addresses long-term facilities challenges.

Why do we need a referendum to address critical facilities needs?


School districts across Wisconsin must request approval from taxpayers through public referenda when their need for operating funds or capital improvements exceeds their annual operating budget. While the district budgets approximately $500,000 per year to manage facility needs for all eight buildings (which serve nearly than 5,300 students and 700 staff), existing facilities needs far exceed what the district can pay from the existing annual budget.

 

 

 

How do you determine the cost/benefit of remodeling versus building new?

Industry standards use both quantitative and qualitative measures to weigh the cost/benefit of remodeling old-outdated buildings against building new. Although there is not a strict formula, when the cost of remodeling approaches approximately 2/3 the cost to build new, it is reasonable and appropriate to consider the option of building new. For example, if a renovation/addition project is estimated at $15 million dollars and a new build project may be obtained for $22.5 million dollars, the decision to build new is typically advised based on quantitative as well as qualitative factors.

Questions to consider when evaluating qualitative factors for a renovation/remodel vs new building project include:

  • Does the building have architectural or historic significance worth spending additional dollars to maintain and update?

  • How easily will the building lend itself to support modern learning spaces?

  • How easily will additions to support classrooms also accommodate expansion in common support spaces (gyms, cafeteria, etc.)

  • Will a renovated building have the same life cycle life expectancy as a new facility or cost more in the long run to maintain?

  • Will renovations costs to update for ADA code compliance or storm shelter codes be cost inefficient?

  • Are their harmful materials in old buildings which will be costly to remove or abate?

  • Can outdated mechanical systems (and available repair/replacement parts) be updated based on availability and/or structural constraints of older facilities to accommodate eventual replacement with new systems? Will maintaining old systems be energy inefficient?

Why can’t maintenance needs be paid for out of the district’s annual operating budget?

All of these needs combined for maintenance, capacity and modern learning environments exceed what the district can pay from its existing maintenance budget.

The district has an annual operating budget of $500,000 to manage capital maintenance needs for all buildings and grounds around the district. The Building & Grounds budget, including capital and deferred maintenance projects, is balanced with the demands and needs of every department for staff, technology, curriculum, supplies, equipment, and student services.

As part of the annual budget development process, the district identifies its key strategic initiatives, projects and needs. During this process, every program and staffing position is carefully reviewed to ensure that scarce financial resources are used wisely, and in accordance with the district’s mission, initiatives, and financial policies.

In recent years, the state’s budget has imposed tight restrictions with limited new funding on school district revenue. The key to understanding the district’s budget lies in that the available revenue and funding determines how much can be spent. We must fit all operational expenditures within the revenue limit authority determined by the state’s funding formula. With limited exceptions, only referendum-approved expenditures allow a school district to spend above or outside of the calculated revenue limit authority.

We dedicate $500,000 annually to capital maintenance across the district in an effort to maintain our facilities and replace aging equipment.  In 2014-2015, the District established Fund 46, a long-term capital improvement fund with an initial allocation of $500,000. This fund allows school districts to set aside dollars that must be used to support the cost of projects in an approved long-term capital improvement plan.  By Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction guideline funds cannot be expended until an initial 5-year waiting period has lapsed.

The Board is committed to ongoing contributions to Fund 46 on an annual basis in a proactive attempt to minimize deferred maintenance in the future with a current balance of $1.1 million. The district can't legally access use this funds until August of 2020. We have done all of this while maintaining a tax rate that is almost $20 per $100,000 of home value below the state average. In fact, in the 2015-16 school year, only three K-12 districts in Waukesha County had a lower tax rate than Oconomowoc. 

How much does the district budget for annual capital maintenance?

We dedicate $500,000 annually to capital maintenance across the district in an effort to maintain our facilities and replace aging equipment.  In 2014-15, the District established Fund 46, a long-term capital improvement fund with an initial allocation of $500,000. This fund allows school districts to set aside dollars that must be used to support the cost of projects in an approved long-term capital improvement plan.  By Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction guideline funds cannot be expended until an initial 5-year waiting period has lapsed. The district can't legally access use this funds until August of 2020.

The Board is committed to ongoing contributions to Fund 46 on an annual basis in a proactive attempt to minimize deferred maintenance in the future with a current balance of $1.1 million.

We have done all of this while maintaining a tax rate that is almost $20 per $100,000 of home value below the state average. In fact, in the 2015-16 school year, only three K-12 districts in Waukesha County had a lower tax rate than Oconomowoc. 

When will the referendum vote take place?

Date of Referendum Vote - November 8, 2016

A date for the referendum vote is November 8, 2016 during the general election. 

Click here for voting information.

 

When was the last referendum in OASD?

The last referendum approved by the community occurred on November 7, 2006, for $49 million. The referendum included:

  • Construction of two new intermediate schools (grades 5-8).

  • Addition of a field house at Oconomowoc High School

  • Construction of the Oconomowoc Arts Center (750-seat auditorium at Oconomowoc High School)

What is the tax increase associated with the proposed project?

Tax Impact:  Borrowing Amount: $54.9 million

Maximum Mill Rate Increase: $0.40
(per $1,000 of equalized home value)

ANNUAL 
INCREASE

MONTHLY 
INCREASE

$100,000 home

$40.00

$3.33

$250,000 home

$100.00

$8.33

$350,000 home

$140.00

$11.67

$500,000 home

$200.00

$16.67

Key Assumptions:

- Interest rates ranging from 3.25% to 3.75%.

- Annual Equalized Property Growth: 1.7%

- Phased borrowing approach over a 3 year period (2017-2019) with each borrowing paid back over a 20-year period.  

Source: Financial advisors with PMA Securities, Inc.

What projects and costs are included in the referendum?

On November 8, OASD residents will be asked to vote on a $54.9 million referendum.  The following projects are included:

MEADOW VIEW ELEMENTARY ($28.3 million)

>Link to site plan (PDF)

  • Construct new elementary school
  • Sized for up to 675 students in 4K-4th
  • New location on Hwy P between Hwy K and Hwy Z

IXONIA ELEMENTARY ($8.2 million)

>Link to site plan (PDF)

  • Relocate three classrooms from basement to main level
  • Replace heating, ventilation and mechanical systems
  • Replace portions of roof
  • Build visible and secure main entrance
  • Build a dedicated cafeteria

PARK LAWN ELEMENTARY ($3.4 million)

  • Replace heating, ventilation and mechanical systems
  • Replace portions of roof
  • Update fire alarms

GREENLAND ELEMENTARY ($3.7 million)

  • Replace heating, ventilation and mechanical systems
  • Replace portions of roof
  • Update fire alarms

OCONOMOWOC HIGH SCHOOL - MAIN CAMPUS ($2.0 million)

  • Upgrade security systems
  • Renovate manufacturing, automotive, and construction trades classrooms

OCONOMOWOC HIGH SCHOOL - EAST CAMPUS ($6.9 million)

  • Renovate former Wilkinson building
  • Create high school instructional spaces for up to 300 students

DISTRICT OFFICE - EAST CAMPUS ($2.3 million)

  • Renovate former Wilkinson building

 

THIS INCLUDES:

The $54.9M total project cost includes all new construction, renovations, identified updates to building infrastructure such as roofs, fire alarms, heating, ventilation, cooling and mechanical systems, land purchase, site access and infrastructure, removal of the existing Meadow View Elementary if needed, professional fees, furniture, fixtures, equipment and required testing and permits. 

What steps has the district taken to reduce costs district-wide?

Frequently Asked Questions About Fiscal Responsibility

As we continue to explore solutions to the district’s facility needs, it is important that our parents and community are aware of everything we have done, and continue to do, to deliver a great school system in a fiscally responsible way.  

For the past decade, the Oconomowoc Area School District has worked tirelessly towards a high degree of fiscal responsibility and increased financial strength.  Our School Board and administration has practiced conservative budgeting principles. These consistent practices took the district from what was at one time a negative fund balance, to one that currently allows us to significantly reduce the amount of short-term borrowing necessary to meet cash flow needs over the course of the year.  


What is the district’s credit rating?

Through conservative financial management, the District achieved a AA2 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.  We are only one of 55 Districts throughout the state to hold that high a rating. In fact, only 16 districts across the state have higher credit rating than Oconomowoc.


What steps has the district taken to reduce debt?

The District has been aggressive in refinancing its current debt. In 2014 and 2015 we completed refinancing that will reduce our debt payments by $3.1 million over the next 12 years.  Because this is debt service, these savings do not shift into the operational budget.  Rather, they result in a direct savings to taxpayers.


How has debt refinancing helped reduce taxes?

The 2014 and 2015  refinancing resulted in an average annual decrease in the debt service levy of $260,000 per year.  Based on current property values, this results in an annual decrease of $5 per $100,000 of home value.


How has the district worked to control costs in its operational budget?

The largest portion of public school district budgets is personnel costs. There are four areas where the OASD has been able to realize cost savings related to compensation, employee benefits and retirement obligations.

  1. Since 2011, the district saved $4.7 million in contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) by having employees contribute their portion of WRS contributions rather than the district.

  2. The district changed insurance providers, which resulted in a savings of more than $650,000. Since that move five years ago, we have held the district’s share of premium costs flat through multiple plan design changes.

  3. We restructured post-employment benefits in a way that steps down the benefit level over time, and eliminates new obligations altogether over the next 10 years.

  4. We restructured our teacher compensation model to a system that recognizes effective classroom performance, teacher leadership, collaboration, and contributions to the profession, rather than compensation based solely on seniority and graduate credits.


How much does the district budget for annual capital maintenance?

We dedicate $500,000 annually to capital maintenance across the district in an effort to maintain our facilities and replace aging equipment.  In 2014-15, the District established Fund 46, a long-term capital improvement fund with an initial allocation of $500,000. This fund allows school districts to set aside dollars that must be used to support the cost of projects in an approved long-term capital improvement plan.  By Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction guideline funds cannot be expended until an initial 5-year waiting period has lapsed.

The Board is committed to ongoing contributions to Fund 46 on an annual basis in a proactive attempt to minimize deferred maintenance in the future with a current balance of $1.1 million. We have done all of this while maintaining a tax rate that is almost $20 per $100,000 of home value below the state average. 

 

We have done all of this while maintaining a tax rate that is almost $20 per $100,000 of home value below the state average!  In fact, in the 2015-16 school year, only three K-12 districts in Waukesha County have a lower tax rate than Oconomowoc.



What is our current mill rate?

Mill Rate Information
  • The district's mill rate in 2015-16 is $10.06 (equalized tax rate per $1,000 of property value), which is below the state average mill rate of $10.25.
  • Click here to view all Waukesha County school district mill rates for 2014-15 and 2015-16.

How would potential new debt be financed?

If voters approve a facilities referendum in November 2016, the proposed financing plan includes three distinct phases in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Each of the financings would be amortized, or repaid over a 20-year period, which is the maximum length of time the state allows school districts to repay long-term debt. Taxpayers would first note the approved increase on their December 2017 tax bills.

Borrowing the approved funds in three phases allows the district to match the construction timeline with the need for funds at key periods throughout the nearly three year construction   schedule.  Depending on the interest rate market, phasing is also a valuable means to manage interest costs.

Does this mean existing debt repayment is being extended?

No. Per state law, school districts cannot borrow funds for more than 20 years, nor can they refinance bonds to push repayment beyond 20 years. Starting in the early 2000’s, OASD student enrollment growth was substantial (more than 1,000 students) and between 2003 and 2008, Summit Elementary and the two intermediate schools were built in response to this growth.  The Oconomowoc Arts Center and fieldhouse projects were also completed at Oconomowoc High School. The majority of the district’s existing debt is from these projects. In 2014 and 2015, the district refinanced portions of the existing debt, saving $3.1M. Refinancing did not extend the life of the remaining debt.  It did, however, lower the remaining interest costs by capitalizing on lower interest rates available in recent years.

If voters approve funding for new projects in November 2016, the proposed financing approach would not impact the existing debt, which will be paid in full in 2027. The structure of the new referendum debt allows some repayment for the first 10 years (through 2027), with more rapid payback after the existing debt has been fully retired.

This approach to structuring the debt allows new residents that move into our growing district in future years to support their share of facilities expansion and improvements, which will last far longer than the 20-year repayment of the financings.

 

What interest rates are being used in the proposed financing plan?

Currently, municipal bond interest rates are close to historic lows (see chart below). As of September 2016, current interest rates for general obligation municipal bonds was approximately 2.85%.

With three distinct phases of borrowing planned for 2017, 2018, and 2019, using conservative interest rates during the planning phase is fiscally responsible and provides flexibility in case interest rates change in the future.

Final interest rates are also directly impacted by the school district’s credit rating. Through conservative financial management, the District has achieved an Aa2 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.  We are one of only 55 districts throughout the state to hold that high of a rating. In fact, only 16 of the state’s 424 school districts have higher credit rating than Oconomowoc. This positions the District to secure favorable interest rates when borrowing for facilities projects, helping to reduce total interest costs.

 

Would a change in total school district property value impact the estimated cost to taxpayers?

Yes. Tax impact estimates associated with potential facilities projects are directly affected by the assumed growth in property value of the entire school district, known as equalized property valuation. Of particular interest to taxpayers would not only be overall growth in the tax base, but the growth that is associated specifically with new construction. This data is available for individual municipalities, but not for the school district as a whole. As a point of reference, net new construction for the City of Oconomowoc increased by 1.89% in 2015 and 1.51% in 2016.

The preliminary tax impact estimates associated with a potential projects for a November 2016 referendum use a conservative assumption of total District annual equalized property value growth of 1.7%. In the last 20 years, the average equalized property value in the District has grown by approximately 5% per year. However, our annual equalized value has varied in the last 10 years due to the Great Recession, with average growth since 2006 of approximately 1.7% per year.

Because we cannot guarantee the rate of growth for the full length of a new borrowing (maximum 20 years), the District believes the current tax impact assumption of 1.7% equalized property value growth per year is appropriate and reasonable for future planning. If the equalized property growth rate is lower than 1.7%, the estimated tax impact would be more than projected. If the equalized property growth rate is greater than 1.7%, the estimated tax impact would be less.

 

What is the district’s credit rating?

Through conservative financial management, the District achieved an Aa2 credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service.  We are only one of 55 Districts throughout the state to hold that high a rating. In fact, only 16 districts across the state have higher credit rating than Oconomowoc.

What steps has the district taken to reduce debt?

The District has taken advantage of today’s low interest rates and refinanced its current debt. In 2014 and 2015 we completed refinancing that will reduce our debt payments by $3.1 million over the next 12 years.  Because this is debt service, these savings do not shift into the operational budget.  Rather, they result in a direct savings to taxpayers.

How has debt refinancing helped reduce taxes?

The 2014 and 2015 refinancing resulted in an average annual decrease in the debt service levy of $260,000 per year.  Based on current property values, this results in an annual decrease of $5 per $100,000 of home value.

Are there outside partners supporting the facilities work?

Partners Supporting Facilities Work

The district selected Eppstein Uhen Architects (EUA) in December 2014 after a competitive RFP and interview process. EUA also assists the district with pre-referendum work and community engagement.

In March 2015, the district solicited RFPs for Construction Management (CM) firms to help develop preliminary cost estimates for the prioritized needs. The firm of Nicholas Associates/Oliver Construction was selected after competitive interviews with school board members and district administration. School districts often hire construction managers early in the conceptual project phases to help evaluate, budget, and schedule various potential solutions, often years in advance of hiring trade contractors for the work.

What is the OHS "East" Campus?

WHAT IS "EAST CAMPUS?"

Built in 1965 with additions in 1996 and 2008, Oconomowoc High School (OHS) currently serves 1,575 students. Today, OHS is over capacity by 58 students and future enrollment projections estimate OHS will be over capacity by more than 300 students in less than 10 years.

To address capacity limitations while reducing the amount of new construction needed to accommodate additional students coming to OHS, in December 2015 the district purchased the former Wilkinson Building on Summit Avenue, located within walking distance from OHS. This action came as the direct result of feedback from the Facilities Advisory Committee to consider using an existing facility to meet space needs rather than build a large classroom addition on the existing OHS site.

The district now refers to this building as Oconomowoc High School East Campus.  OHS East will serve students interested in Engineering, Architecture, Graphic Design, Business and Health Services in “real world” academic settings. The former Wilkinson building on Summit Avenue in Oconomowoc will be renovated into usable space for high school classrooms and the district offices. The building would be transformed to create instructional space for up to 300 high school students, and to house district administration, which is now located at Meadow View Elementary. Students would walk between the main campus and East via a lighted pathway. #oconvotes

 This is a conceptual idea of what East Campus could look like (may change as programs and designs develop).

 

Download a larger PDF version. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the district considering a new location if Meadow View Elementary School is replaced?

 

Yes. Based on preliminary recommendations from the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC) to propose constructing a new Meadow View Elementary School rather than renovate and expand the existing school, the School Board is investigating the feasibility and costs associated with potentially purchasing land in the City of Oconomowoc as the preferred new site for the new building. The site being explored is approximately 18-20 acres just south of the current Meadow View location on Highway P (also known as Brown Street), between County Road K and County Road Z.

Is the land available?

Yes. A portion of this land is currently owned by St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church & School of Oconomowoc. St. Matthew’s is open to selling a segment of their land to OASD and is also willing to partner with the school district to share costs associated with the infrastructure development of this site. Because the property is located in the City of Oconomowoc, there may be an opportunity to include the city as an additional partner with OASD and St. Matthew’s to further develop this site. The city has envisioned a regional park in this area as part of the long-range parks plan.

What is site infrastructure development?

Site infrastructure development includes the extension of required utility services such as water, sewer, electric and gas. It also includes site access with the possible extension of Snyder Lane from the east, storm water retention, and other road/traffic improvements.

Can we build a new school on the existing Meadow View property?

Yes. Rebuilding Meadow View on the existing site is possible, but would also require significant site development to handle the expanded size of the facility. The location does not have access to City of Oconomowoc water, sewer, gas or electric. The existing septic system must be replaced with a significantly larger one, and a new well is required along with other water system upgrades. Remaining on the site with a well and septic system also requires substantial additional annual maintenance costs associated with pumping, cleaning and inspections.

Building a new school on the existing site would involve extensive construction, demolition and site work to take place over 2+ years with students, staff, parents, and community members still actively using the existing building and site. Building a new school on an alternate site, completely separate from the current location, would be faster and less impactful on everyone throughout the construction period.

What are the estimated cost differences between the two locations for a new Meadow View?

Preliminary estimates of the initial site development costs of staying at the existing site or relocating to the new site in the City of Oconomowoc (approximately ½ mile south on Highway P) find that they are comparable at approximately $1.3M. Additional preliminary analysis of the potential annual utility costs project a cost savings per square foot if Meadow View was rebuilt on the City of Oconomowoc site with full access to City water, sewer, gas and electric.

What would happen to the existing Meadow View school and site?

If the referendum passes and Meadow View is relocated to a new site just down the road on Hwy P, OASD plans to sell the existing building and land, working closely with the Town of Oconomowoc to ensure the necessary zoning changes as needed.  The proceeds from the sale(s) may be used to address additional capital needs or further fund the long-term capital maintenance fund (Fund 46), established by the District in 2015. 

When will final decisions be made about the location?

As progress continues, formal Memorandum’s of Understanding (MOU’s) would be proposed to guide the potential development of this site between all three entities (OASD, St. Matthew’s, and the City of Oconomowoc). A successful offer to purchase the land from St. Matthew’s by OASD would be contingent on several critical factors:

  • The St. Matthews land is successfully annexed into the City of Oconomowoc.  It is currently in the Town of Oconomowoc;
  • A facilities referendum is successfully approved by OASD residents in November 2016;
  • A successful cost sharing agreement is executed between OASD and St. Matthew’s.

 

Why isn't the district proposing to build the new Meadow View on the existing property?

Rebuilding Meadow View on the existing would require significant site development to handle the expanded size of the facility. The location does not have access to City of Oconomowoc water, sewer, gas or electric. The existing septic system must be replaced with a significantly larger one, and a new well is required along with other water system upgrades. Remaining on the site with a well and septic system also requires substantial additional annual maintenance costs associated with pumping, cleaning and inspections.

Building a new school on the existing site would involve extensive construction, demolition and site work to take place over 2+ years with students, staff, parents, and community members still actively using the existing building and site.  Building a new school on an alternate site, completely separate from the current location, would be faster and less impactful on everyone throughout the construction period.

What will happen to the existing Meadow View Elementary school and land if a new school is built?

 

If the referendum passes and Meadow View is relocated to a new site just down the road on Hwy P, OASD plans to sell the existing building and land, working closely with the Town of Oconomowoc to ensure the necessary zoning changes as needed.  The proceeds from the sale(s) may be used to address additional capital needs or further fund the long-term capital maintenance fund (Fund 46), established by the District in 2015.

Very preliminary plans for the site include 29 home lots on the 76.5-acres which would include a 36.5 acre parcel of open space, including a park area with access to the existing conservancy.

It may also be possible to sub-divide the site into two developments.

If the referendum passes, the school district WOULD NOT be acting as the developer of the Meadow View site.  However, the school district believes that it can maximize the value of the property by demonstrating its development potential.

 

When would the proposed projects be completed?

The preliminary timeline for the proposed projects if approved starts immediately in November, 2016 (post-referendum) to February, 2020.  Preliminary individual project timelines are as follows:

(TENTATIVE SCHEDULE)

Project
(If approved on
November 8, 2016)

Approximate Start of Planning and Design

Estimated Completion

Greenland Elementary

November, 2016

August, 2017

Park Lawn Elementary

November, 2016

August, 2017

Ixonia Elementary

November, 2016

August, 2018

OHS Main Campus

March, 2017

August, 2018

Meadow View Elementary

March, 2017

August 2019

OHS East Campus - Instructional

March, 2017

August, 2018

OHS East Campus- District Office

April, 2019

February, 2020

Why do we need more classroom capacity at Oconomowoc High School? I remember when there were more students at OHS than today.

 

How have OHS’s course offerings expanded over time and how does that impact the facility?

OHS offers several more instructional programs compared with three or four decades ago.  For example, today OHS offers:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Project Lead the Way (pre-engineering program)
  • Graphic Design
  • Video Game Design and Visual Effects Programming

These additional program offerings do not create completely new space requirements separate from the increase in graduation credits.  However, they do provide another example of more courses being scheduled than 30+ years ago.  


Have state or federal laws impacted the available classroom space at OHS and other OASD’s facilities?

Yes.  For example, federal law requires us to provide services to all students with disabilities.  We take pride in the services we provide to our disabled students.  But we also recognize that providing these services takes space.  As a result, we devote significant space in each of our buildings to serving our disabled population.  Today, 12% of our high school student population is identified with a disability. 

Three or four decades ago, our services to disabled students were not as comprehensive as they are today.  While difficult to confirm, it is unlikely that physical therapy and occupational therapy rooms existing three or four decades ago.  These are extremely important spaces.  It is important to recognize, though, that establishing these rooms typically means using some of an existing building’s square footage. 

 

How have instructional practices evolved over the years, and how has that evolution impacted OHS?

Instructional approaches have changed significantly over the past 30 years.  For decades, our schools relied primarily on a direct, teacher-centered, large group instruction.  Over time, this teacher-centered instructional approach has evolved.  Today, large portions of our curriculum is delivered via flexible instructional practices that involve small group and individual learning.  We also rely on project-based learning.  Implementing these new and evolving instructional practices is a challenge in our space-challenged environment and, as a result, we have students working on the floor in our hallways. 

The utilization of technology has also had a major impact on our facilities.  For example, 30 years ago, OHS likely had few, if any, computer labs.  Today, OHS has seven computer labs.  Several of these labs are used as classroom space; others are used as open labs for student use.  Each of these labs takes up space that could otherwise be used for classrooms.  However, computer literacy is woven throughout our curriculum and lab space is therefore extremely important to our students.

 

The district has already expanded the footprint of Oconomowoc High School.  Why is more space needed?

The district added on to OHS in 1996 and it is approximately 30% larger than when it originally opened in 1965.  However, the high school expansion is largely due to the addition of the Performing Arts Center, fieldhouse, and Physical Development Center.  All these spaces are beautiful and are assets to both district and community, but they add virtually no instructional capacity to OHS (beyond a teaching station for Physical Education in the Physical Development Center). 

Enrollment growth has been significant in recent years and is projected to continue.  As a result, basic instructional spaces OHS are over capacity.  The School Board has therefore authorized a referendum that, if passed, would expand instructional space by remodeling the former Wilkinson Building into the OHS East Campus.

 

How much did the district spend on the new athletic fields at Oconomowoc High School?

How much did the district spend on the new athletic fields at Oconomowoc High School?

 

Athletic Fields Forever was a joint fundraising effort between the Oconomowoc Area School District and the Oconomowoc Sports Booster Club to expand and renovate all outdoor athletic facilities at Oconomowoc High School. Facilities for football, soccer, track, baseball, softball and tennis were upgraded and improved, resulting in the premier high school athletic complex in southeastern Wisconsin.

Total expenditures for the Athletic Field Forever project were $4,637,011. Expenditures included the football stadium with video scoreboard, soccer stadium with video scoreboard, track facility, baseball field, new ticket booth, West Fields (softball), tennis pavilion, and engineering and consulting services.

 

The project was paid for with a combination of District funds and private donations:

 

District funding............................................................... $3,184,114

Fundraising/donations collected......................................   $1,283,664

Fundraising/donations pledged/outstanding......................   $169,233

Total:........................................................................ $4,637,011

 

What were the OHS senior class sizes in 1975-1985?

OHS Senior Class Sizes 1975-1985

This list compiled from hand written records kept by Vi Shultz in OHS archives.

  • Senior High School included Grades 10/11/12
  • Two campuses – North and South – before the addition in the 1990’s
  • Campuses were likely combined in 1988
  • Grades 7/8/9 were Junior High, at the old Middle School

 

Class Year

North Campus

South Campus

Total Class Size

1975

235

222

457

1976

246

228

474

1977

238

252

490

1978

255

228

483

1979

229

225

454

1980

233

234

467

1981

247

236

483

1982

241

259

500

1983


* No records by N/S campus

359

1984

370

1985

333

 

What will happen if the November 8 facilities referendum fails?

The Oconomowoc Area School Board authorized the November 8 facilities referendum based on nearly two-years of careful research, data collection and community feedback.  The proposed plan specifically responds to several key trends:

  • Enrollment has grown over time and projections indicate that growth will continue well into the future.
  • The district does not have sufficient general operating funds to maintain aging facilities and building systems.  

If the referendum fails, OASD will still need to find a way to accommodate student enrollment, particularly at Meadow View, Ixonia, and Oconomowoc High School which are already beyond capacity as well as for projected enrollment growth in the next 10 years. The district will also to need find a way to address maintenance needs in our aging facilities, with many building systems near or beyond the end of their useful lives.

If the referendum fails, the district and board will engage the community, ensuring that taxpayers and other constituents have multiple opportunities to voice their opinions about the future of the district’s facilities.  Decision-making will be careful, deliberative and data-driven.

Are construction costs on the rise?

Are construction costs on the rise?

Yes. With our economy stabilizing, constructing costs have begun to rise again after several years of lower-than-average construction cost inflation as a result of the Great Recession. The district’s construction managers (Nicholas & Associates and Oliver Construction) report that raw material costs have increased for steel and concrete in particular. The availability of skilled labor is also a factor affecting the construction industry right now. 

For example, if the proposed $54.9M referendum was delayed for three years (until 2019), using a construction cost inflation factor of 4% per year, the total project cost for the exact same projects would likely cost $62M. If the project was delayed for five years (until 2021), the total project cost for the exact same work would likely be $68.2M.

 

915 E. Summit Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-560-1115
Nondiscrimination: The Oconomowoc Area School District provides assurance that no student is discriminated against because of the student's sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability.
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