Plans to expand Pewaukee’s Horizon Elementary School on hold
Village officials want details on parking, landscaping

By Dave Fidlin - Special to The Freeman

March 13, 2015

PEWAUKEE - With enrollment growth projected, Pewaukee school officials have pitched expanding Horizon Elementary School. Concerns about parking and landscaping, however, have stalled the project - for now, at least.

The Pewaukee School District has submitted a proposal to construct a 12,000-square-foot addition onto Horizon, located in the district campus at 458 Lake St.

The Plan Commission on Thursday gave the district’s plans a once-over, but postponed any definitive decisions - partly because several  residents expressed concerns about the project’s scope.

As proposed, the district would add eight classrooms on Horizon’s east side. A second story would be added atop several existing wings. Building materials would mirror the existing design.

While Horizon is not yet at capacity, Assistant Superintendent John Gahan said the district is looking to the future. He noted recent statistics that reveal 17 subdivisions and about 500 homes have been constructed within the district’s boundaries.

Village Planner Mary Censky gave the district’s plans a favorable recommendation with the caveat that school officials go through the proper permitting process and follow other routine protocol.

But some residents inquired about how the expansion project would impact their quality of life. The discussion also reopened an old wound concerning high school students parking in nearby neighborhoods.

Tower Court resident Laurin Miller said the district’s plans were a surprise. He said he had learned of them a few days prior.

“I think there needs to be a much better job of communicating with neighbors,” Miller said. “We’re concerned about what feels like a little bit of disregard.”

Gahan said the district does desire to cooperate with surrounding property owners.

“We pride ourselves on being a good neighbor,” he said.

Although the construction is not expected to have any immediate impact on the existing parking, Trustee Joe Zompa suggested the district create more spaces to accommodate future staffing additions.

As for landscaping, Censky said the district already far exceeds the number of trees it has on its campus property. However, commissioners have asked the district to submit revised plans with additional greenery to shield the property from nearby residents.

Once the district submits landscaping and parking plans, commissioners will resume their deliberations and could then make a recommendation to the Village Board for final action.