Wilton School District Wants Elementary School Flipped With City - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Wilton School District Wants Elementary School Flipped With City Park


Wilton's elementary school has stood its ground for nearly 80 years.

The building hasn't changed much over that time span either.

Leaving the Wilton school board looking to build new.

The big question the district needs to answer, where to put it?

The school's spot near the center of town is right where the district wants it.

Providing an easy walk or bike ride for students heading to class.

The building is nearing the end of its life without costly upgrades though.

Replacing all the mechanicals would cost around 12 million dollars.

Building new costs around 14 million.

So a committee will most likely recommend building new, and an idea is floating out there to make a land deal with the city.

Swapping a city park with the elementary school.

"There's not a lot of areas that are very large to put an elementary building on, they're not in the central part of town," says Wilton Superintendent Joe Burnett.

He says the district wants to keep its elementary kids right where they are. Building new though, means finding a place for students to go. Making a land swap with the city an attractive idea.

"This construction can be going on while we have school across the street. If we demolish the current facility we've got to find places for 400 kids for a year and a half and that's if construction is on time," says Burnett.

The school district has moved students before, back in the 70's, which is the last time the elementary school had major work done. Creating the current conglomerate of bricks put up in the 30's, the 50's, and the 70's.

"It's three buildings, adjoined which makes it a challenge in itself," says Burnett.

City administrator Chris Ball says, "A new school is one of the things that would certainly help in attracting young families."

He says a new elementary school is a good thing for the town, but the city will have to take a thorough look at the land swap idea. Ensuring taxpayers get a fair deal.

"I don't know the size of either piece of ground at this point so it'd have to be an equitable swap between the two, and of course there's a school building on their piece of ground and we'd want green space," says Ball.

Some of those taxpayers say they support an upgrade no matter where the school is at. Because the school hasn't changed much.

"No I really don't, I think it's pretty much the same as when I went back to school," says Wilton alum Amy Maurer.

Leaving the city and school district to hammer out the details. The school committee wants to make a recommendation on a location to the school board by May.

It's waiting to see if the city council will find the land swap agreeable.

Taxpayers will still have to weigh in on the matter.

The district will ask permission to borrow the money later this year.

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