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Onalaska ISD to hold bond issue election

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By Emily Banks Wooten
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Voters in the Onalaska Independent School District will go to the polls on May 4 to vote on the issuance of $42 million for the construction of a new high school facility.

Onalaska Elementary School presently has 720 students in grades pre-kindergarten through sixth with all classrooms occupied. There is congested traffic for the car rider drop-off and pickup and there are limited extracurricular activities for the fifth and sixth grades. Eight grade levels on one campus create a large age span, from three years old to 13 years old. Due to the number of grades, lunches are held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

The Onalaska Junior-Senior High School presently has 540 students in seventh through 12th grades and there is only one classroom left for future staffing needs. The career technology education classrooms are not designed for that purpose. Conflicts are created by shared facilities. There is a large span between ages, from 12 to 19 years old. Lack of adequate parking and a small gymnasium negates the ability to host graduation and other various high school level events.

The proposed solution is to construct a new high school that would create the availability for future growth at all three campuses and would allow the district to realign grade levels at each campus. Pre-kindergarten through fourth grade would be at the elementary campus, fifth through eighth grades would be at the middle school campus and ninth through 12th grades would be at the high school campus.

This proposed solution would provide purpose-designed facilities for the career technology education programs and would allow extra-curricular programs for fifth and sixth graders such as pre-athletics and beginner band. It would also reduce traffic congestion, as well as improve scheduling and lunch times at the elementary campus.

There would be physical education and athletic facilities on each campus, and this would also provide the opportunity for local graduation, hosting events and providing facilities for community use and events.

Onalaska ISD has experienced tremendous growth over the last 10 years, with student enrollment numbers going from 894 in 2014, to 1,110 in 2017, to 1,180 in 2020, to 1,255 in 2023. The district continues to see a steady rate of growth and the continued construction of new single family housing residences. Projected student enrollment numbers based on growth data reflect student enrollment numbers going from 1,293 in 2024, to 1,413 in 2027, to 1,544 in 2030, to 1,686 in 2033.

The proposed project would be located beside the present Onalaska Junior-Senior High School with an expected completion of Fall 26-27.

Community meetings are being held to educate stakeholders about the need for the new facility. One will be held at 6 p.m. today (Thursday) at the junior-senior high school. Another will be held at 6 p.m. March 28 at the administration building. Questions may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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