By Dave Fidlin
Right now more questions than answers exist, but a proposal is on the table to relocate Kansasville Grade School to a foreclosed piece of property located less than half a mile away along Highway 11.
At a special School Board meeting held Aug. 18 for Kansasville Graded School District No. 1 – Dover, a small handful of electors voted to explore the possible land acquisition of the now-defunct Players Park, 22840 Durand Ave.
Players Park, a sports bar and restaurant that closed early this year, is in the midst of foreclosure proceedings, with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department involved in the process.
The school board voted unanimously Monday night in favor of exploring the land acquisition.
Because this was a special meeting of the electors, three district residents who were seated in the audience were given an opportunity to vote. Each of the three voted “aye.”
District Administrator Matt Stratton said the property, located a few blocks from the existing school facility, could be used for a relocated Kansasville Grade School, as the district’s future is being discussed.
“The board finds this to be a great location,” Stratton said. “It’s a safer location and would give us more of a driveway. The kids also wouldn’t have to play in the parking lot during recess.”
Another reason to consider, Stratton said, includes the opportunity for a revamped building configuration. Having a dedicated classroom for each grade level has long been on the wish list for the leaders of the school district.
At the moment, Kansasville’s classrooms are split with 4-year-old and 5-year-old kindergarten in one room. Other classrooms are split in grades 1 and 2, grades 3 and 4, grades 5 and 6 and grades 7 and 8.
Stratton said relocation to a new building is a nod toward a more long-term goal, where Kansasville could host around 180 students. Fewer than 100 students are currently enrolled in the district.
“We always want to have a nice small school, but this would increase our capacity,” Stratton said. “This could be the School Board’s vision of a dream school, and there would be the capacity for it.”
As with many visions, a sticking point in the possible Players Park land acquisition is cost. It remains uncertain what kind of money the district would offer for the property.
“In a perfect world, we’d have an agreement, or at least a bid in place,” Stratton said. “But with a foreclosure situation, you can’t do that.”
The School Board and resident electors agreed the purchase price should be fair and reasonable. A goal is not to dip too heavily into the reserve dollars set aside in the district’s fund balance.
Also up in the air is when an actual school transfer would take place. The board indicated it could be as soon as a few years from now or as far out as 10 years. The purchase price ultimately would determine what kind of timeline would be set in place.
“You never know what’s going to happen, so you have to be prepared,” School Board President Robert Kordus said, pointing to the importance of good planning coupled with flexibility.
If the land purchase should go through, Stratton said the district would likely look to sell the land housing the existing Kansasville school, at 4101 S. Beaumont Ave.
“I think it would be necessary to recoup the cost of purchasing Players Park,” Stratton said.