(Keshena, Wis.) Voters overwhelmingly approved a $35 million Menominee Indian School District Referendum on Tuesday, April 5, 2002. (769 yes votes / 284 no votes); which means the district will move ahead with plans to build a new high school in Keshena. This will pave the way for eventually moving the Middle School to the current high school and expanding and improving Keshena Primary School.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the community for turning out to vote and supporting this referendum,” stated MISD Superintendent Wendell Waukau. “This was really a referendum about the future of our Menominee children. We are thankful for the individuals and groups who organized to support the effort and rally voters, including the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin. Everyone worked hard to get the information out about the need and fiscal responsibility of the plan.”
“This is an exciting time for our District, community and students,” stated MISD School Board President David ‘Jonesy’ Miller. “We will now be able to move forward with a facility plan that meets the needs of our growing enrollment and provides our students with the tools, programs and facilities that will help them succeed now and in the future.”
The district will now begin working on a final design for the new high school with architect/builder Somerville Architects & Engineers. The design will be culturally relevant, connecting nature, learning and the community; constructed of natural, sustainable materials. Features of the 110,000 sq. ft. school will include:
- Larger, technology-equipped classrooms
- Expanded labs for Menominee language, arts and foods, including a Menominee art instructional studio
- Larger multi-functional tech ed and science labs, including areas for woods, metal, auto, ag and food/harvesting
- Core pod collaboration spaces and collaboration flex spaces
- FACE lab with six food stations for culinary education
- Special education areas including life skills class space, restrooms and a breakout meeting space
- Expanded room for band and choir programs
- A field house with adequate space for sports, fitness and wellness programs, classes and activities, student athletes and coaches, as well as being available for community use
- A school forest will be established, offering opportunities for cultural and environmental programming.
The new high school will be built on a 40-acre parcel of land off Warrington Rd., behind Save-a-Lot in Keshena. In exchange for the land, which is currently owned by MITW. The Tribe will receive the existing MIMS building/land in Neopit, after the school moves to the current MIHS building. That will occur after the new high school is occupied by students, anticipated to take place in fall 2024.
As part of MISD’s facilities plan, Keshena Primary School will also be expanded, adding classrooms and a new gym area. Specifics of that project have not yet been finalized.
The financial impact of the referendum for property taxpayers will be approximately $2.99 per thousand of equalized value of their home during the next five years and then declining after that.