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Karcher Middle School

The entryway to Karcher Middle School, 225 Robert St., in Burlington. The building, which originally housed Burlington High School, is the oldest in the Burlington Area School District. Its fate could be decided by a community survey in the spring that will shape a referendum BASD plans on holding this fall.

BURLINGTON — The Burlington Area School District is trying to determine what facility projects taxpayers want to see, and how much they’re willing to pay, before a referendum planned for November.

Last week, School Board members met with Bill Foster, president of School Perceptions, a research company based in Slinger, to lay out how they would like to see this spring’s community survey of district residents implemented.

According to Superintendent Peter Smet, the board stated the importance of having the demographics of the community, including senior citizens, properly represented in the results.

The board also gave Foster guidelines for the introduction letter and the wording of the questions. Smet said the district is initially weighing four options.

The first is to do only maintenance for all district buildings. According to an evaluation by Scherrer Construction Co. last August, full maintenance of all the district’s buildings could run as high as $26 million. That would include actions such as window replacement, improving accessibility and refinishing interiors. The oldest facility, Karcher Middle School, could require up to $8 million dollars for maintenance alone.

The other three options consider maintenance of other facilities, but varying levels of reconstruction at Karcher:

  • Significant remodeling;
  • Keeping the newer, remodeled segments of Karcher and tearing down and rebuilding the oldest segments; or
  • Tearing down Karcher and replacing it with a new school.

The estimated costs for those three options were not available at last week’s board meeting. Smet said they would be available to taxpayers in terms of cost per $100,000 in valuation before or during the community survey. The public will be able to weigh in on not just the scale of the projects but the cost, as well.



Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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