Thursday, July 2, 2020

Sparta library public input session tonight, Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.

Sparta area residents are urged to attend a meeting tonight (Monday) starting at 6 p.m. at the Sparta Free Library. The library board and community members are scheduled to meet with an architectural design team to go over possible plans for a library expansion.

FEH Design, the Dubuque, IA firm hired to perform the design process, will be bringing five options to the one-hour meeting.

This will be the fifth public forum to get public input on the options, which include various configurations of two-story additions off the north east side of the building and an entirely new facility.

FEH has prepared estimated budgets for each option ranging from $5 million to $7 million with the option of a new facility falling in the middle.

A needs assessment performed a few years ago determined the present facility is undersized, while a Wisconsin Library Association's assessment rated the Sparta Library below standard.

With input gathered at tonight's public meeting, FEH will work with the library board to put together a community survey, which will be available to the public to take online. The board will use the results of that survey to determine the best path forward.

The Sparta School District's Community Task Force will be  holding its fourth meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19 in its won effort to build a community survey.

The CTF was formed in conjunction with a buildings needs study performed by HSR Associates, a La Crosse-based architectural firm, which is guiding the task force during its six sessions, potentially culminating a referendum plan.

According to HSR's analysis, Lakeview, Lawrence Lawson and Southside have all exceeded their maximum capacity, while Maplewood is at maximum capacity. All four buildings are well above their optimal capacities. Only Cataract was below optimal capacity.

Meadowview, which is only 15 years old, and the high school, which underwent an expansion and remodeling in 2002, were well under optimal capacity.

The CTF has shown interest in moving the fourth grade out of Meadowview Intermediate School and back into the grade schools. Meadowview currently accommodates fourth and fifth graders in the intermediate portion of the school and sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the middle school portion. The district's elementary schools have classrooms for pre-K through third grade.

That also addresses the overcrowding at the intermediate school, which will be and an ongoing problem if nothing changes. Some classes in that facility are already being held in spaces that aren't intended for that use.

There also is a lot of agreement among the CTF that the Cataract Elementary School should remain as an elementary school. It is one of the district's few buildings that was identified in needs study as having ample room and would easily accommodate pre-K through fourth grade.

There has been discussion about repurposing some of the smaller elementary buildings and building a new elementary school.

After CTF meets Tuesday, it will break until the results of the community survey come in and is scheduled to reconvene Nov. 7 and Nov. 21. Tuesday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Administrative and Educational Center on East Franklin Street.



Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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