School Ends, Improvements Begin at Gibraltar, Southern Door

The property-tax-wealthy Gibraltar Area School District has enough cash on hand to afford half a million dollars’ worth of work on school buildings this spring and summer.

As approved by its school board this spring, the district will use about $302,000 from fund balances to reconfigure or refurbish existing restrooms and locker rooms to match school policies for unisex restroom facilities, or restrooms and locker rooms that allow privacy for students who identify as a gender other than their sex at birth.

That $302,000 does not include the cost of new restrooms and dressing rooms in new facilities the district will construct next year as a result of a major, $29.8 million demolition and new-construction project that voters approved this spring. 

This summer’s projects include constructing floor-to-ceiling, hard-sided stalls with privacy doors in the restrooms and locker rooms nearest to the main gymnasium, and updating the elementary restrooms in the lower level and main floor, according to Superintendent Brett Stousland. Also this year, the Gibraltar School District will make the Door Community Auditorium restrooms comply with current Americans with Disabilities Act specifications.

The district is spending about another $80,000 – also from its fund balance – to replace fans, create proper intake ventilation and replace current air ducts in the technical-education rooms. The metals and woods shops specifically needed the ventilation improvements, Stousland said.

Also this year, existing fund balances will help pay for new paint inside the main gymnasium for the first time since the 1990s and resurfacing and additional parking spaces in the lot nearest to the Door Community Auditorium, he said, and the main gym will get new banners and pads at each end of the basketball court.

As for the project to demolish some of the oldest buildings on campus, all located in the center of the school, and to construct a new structure that would eliminate hallway ramps and rebuild classrooms, hallways and the middle school gym – those projects will most likely go out to bid in November.

Groundbreaking Celebration at Southern Door

Southern Door is inviting community members and school supporters to a groundbreaking celebration June 28, 6 pm, to kick off its two-year, $14.9 million, referendum-approved project.

Miron Construction has begun demolition inside the elementary and middle school art classrooms, high school family and consumer-science classroom, high school tech-ed room and the former Talon fitness center, which will become the new district office. 

As of June 12, district administrators had already moved out of the house-like district-office building that’s located at the front and center of the school’s parking lot. Demolition of the old district-office structure that stands in the way of the parking-lot expansion is expected in late June or early July.

The construction of new structures will wait until next year, though parking lot and classroom projects will start this summer.

In 2022, voters approved taking on debt for $14.9 million worth of projects, including parking lot expansion, relocation of the district office, classroom interior renovation, construction of a major fitness center and practice facility with artificial turf, and possibly a garage building specifically to shelter mechanics as they work on district-owned buses and vehicles.

Playground Improvements at Washington Island School

Washington Island School has no major construction or renovation projects scheduled for this summer, but the district staff is looking ahead to playground improvements. This summer, the district will invite community residents to join a parent advisory committee as the district starts planning an expansion of the playground, said Tim Verboomen, principal/administrator.

Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol School Districts

Both districts have newer buildings or wings than the other Door County schools, and that, for now, helps to keep the cost and amount of summer work relatively low. 

At Sevastopol, for example, summer projects include replacing an electronic sign in front of the school and renovating the district office – which had been the fourth- through 12th-grade office – with new cabinets and desks.

Sturgeon Bay just completed several years’ worth of major facilities projects, so school leaders intend to focus on fine-tuning teaching strategies and goals – such as improving the teaching of writing – and working on ways to better communicate to the public the depth and breadth of curriculum, activities and opportunities for students and families from within and outside the district. 

At Sturgeon Bay’s Sunrise Elementary, the library will receive improvements thanks to some funds remaining from the referendum-approved, district-wide construction and improvement projects that took place over the past two summers, according to Superintendent Dan Tjernagel. 

Also, Tjernagel said he believes the district will not see any costs for repairs to terrazzo floors at the high school that cracked after work was completed almost two years ago. Other than that, Sturgeon Bay projects cleanup work and the annual rotation of roof repair.

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