Gibraltar Going to Voters for $29.8 Million for School Building

Board hires architect and construction manager, approves referendum question

The Gibraltar Area School Board has hired Milwaukee-based construction-management and architectural firms with experience building schools while classes are in session. 

On Monday, the board voted 7-0 not only to place a $29.8 million building-referendum question on the April 4 ballot, but also unanimously chose CG Schmidt as the construction manager and Plunkett Raysich Architects (PRA) as the architectural firm.

During the last two months of 2022, the board interviewed the Bray and Somerville architectural firms in addition to PRA, and it also interviewed the Bayland Builders, Zeise, Boldt and CG Schmidt construction-management companies.

Gibraltar schools’ superintendent, Brett Stousland, said all the firms have experience and made a good impression during the interviews. He said he suggested hiring PRA and CG Schmidt in part because both had experience completing “difficult builds.” Stousland said the firms have handled projects in which construction took place while students were in session, and that would be necessary at Gibraltar. Also, much of the work would focus on replacing the 1930 and 1950 middle school classroom, gym and office sections, which occupy the center of the school.

In Gibraltar’s case, if voters approve the issuance of bonds for the project, the district would invest money and give the firms time to complete planning until construction began in 2024. 

CG Schmidt conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Gibraltar campus in late summer 2022 and told the board it would take $50 million to modernize classroom spaces and correct all of the problems and shortcomings in the old and existing structures in the multi-building campus in Fish Creek. CG Schmidt concluded that the district could correct structural, window, door, safety and security issues campuswide; demolish and replace the oldest sections of the school; and build and equip additions for more classrooms for about $30 million.

Former board member Mike Peot commented that he remembered it taking more than a year to choose from varying plans for Gibraltar’s current library, so he didn’t see how the firms could have suitable plans prepared in time for an April 4 referendum.

Stousland said neither firm will have complete, detailed plans before the April 4 vote, but they will provide preliminary sketches, concepts and objectives well before the election. 

Board member Karen Nordahl said the board has tasked CG Schmidt with preparing materials and leading marketing efforts prior to the vote, and Stousland has said that he and board members will meet with members of clubs, organizations, municipal boards and anyone else who’s interested to explain the situation at meetings or over coffee.

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