Shorewood ponders modernizing school buildings

Posted at 11:54 AM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 14:02:21-05

The Shorewood School District is discussing how to best maintain and possibly update its old, historical buildings.

“We have three buildings between 90 and 100 years old,” said Superintendent Bryan Davis.

Davis said the district held a community school summit last year, which produced a lot of feedback from neighbors about the need to modernize local schools.

He added that Shorewood’s residents have also voiced their desire to preserve the historic characteristics of the structures.

The firm Epstein Uhen Architects was hired to assess the state of Shorewood’s schools, and those results were recently presented to the community at workshops earlier this month.

Davis said some of the company’s findings included the need to make the schools more accessible for students with handicaps, as well as the need for more security.

The study also said the facilities needed more flexible learning spaces – which Davis defines as classrooms in which one room can be used to produce various learning environments.

“Historically, if you think about a classroom, that’s rows of desks that are very static. We want to use the ideas of collaboration and teamwork,” Davis said. “How do we get our students in small groups, discussing ideas, being able to dialogue and debate?”

“Our buildings just weren’t built for that,” he added.

Davis said feedback from the community, students and staff will now be used to help the district craft three to four “big ideas” for updating/renovating its facilities.

He said that will run from January to March, with plans then presented to the community between March and May.

“The community will ultimately decide whether we move forward,” Davis said.