Oconomowoc, Wisc., Plans New School

Oconomowoc - The School District is moving forward with plans to build an intermediate school on the city's southwest side despite opposition from some residents of a nearby subdivision.

The city Plan Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday on plans for an $18 million school for grades five through eight near the northeast corner of Waukesha County Highways B and BB.

The district, which already has purchased the 36-acre site for $2 million, will give a presentation on its construction plans at the meeting.

Some people who live near the site have objected to the anticipated increase in area traffic once Oconomowoc Parkway, which now ends near the site, is extended to serve the new school and future development in that area.

They also have questioned the suitability of the site for a school, noting concerns over storm water management and the cost to district residents of raising the building site's grade to avoid a high groundwater table.

"Their position is that they believe the school is sited at the wrong place," said Mayor Maury Sullivan, who met with some of the residents Wednesday.

He said city staff members discussed the site with School District officials before they purchased the land, and that it had been analyzed by engineers for a developer, who sold the land, and for the district and the city.

Mike Barry, the district's assistant superintendent for business services, said the district did an extensive review of the site, including soil tests, and studies by civil and environmental engineers, architects, surveyors and a construction manager.

District officials selected the location and it was endorsed by city staff because it is in an area of growth, he said.

In response to a request by opponents of the site, he said, the district asked its construction team to look at moving the school building to the end of the parcel away from nearby homes. That did not work because of the parcel's triangular shape, he said, noting that most of the site will be devoted to playfields.

Barry said he believes the newly expanded parkway will be adequate to accommodate traffic to and from the school, which is heavy for only brief periods in the morning and after school.

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