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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

What Would You Do?

School Board, Germantown, Education

Recent news stories have featured the Milwaukee Public School system’s ownership of significant numbers of unused buildings that simply sit there when other uses might be found for them.  That story deals with the Milwaukee position of not permitting their buildings to be used for charter schools that would compete…and maybe embarrass that district.

Not in the same respect, but dealing with an unused building, the Germantown School District is studying the possibilities represented by the old Highway View building.  It is located in the Town of Polk about a half-mile west of Cabellas and just west of the Pioneer Plaza truck stop on Hwy 41.

This building dates back to 1890 and was added to in the 1960s.  Interestingly enough, the 1960s addition is crumbling while the 1890 original building is in better condition although requiring work.  The Building and Grounds Committee is studying this situation now.  The Committee’s present position seems that of demolishing the addition, removing the septic system and all utilities and then repairing the original historic structure as required.

The minimum cost would appear to be something in the range of $85,000 and that would cover the tear-down.  If the structure were to be rebuilt, the starting cost would be in the range of $850,000.  The building could be used for the District offices but that would likely entail more money being invested.  Beyond this possible use, there is probably not much value for any use as a school building given location and size.  It probably could become a small but historic office building if there were a market for that given current economic factors and, again, location.

If you were sitting on the Board, what would you do?  Just ignore the problem?  Tear the whole thing down?  Tear down the addition and rehab the historic structure to be resold for some other use?  Is this something that has historic value?  Or, is it simply an old building that ought to be done away with?

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