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KUSD school board approves lease for future site of Lakeview Technology Academy in KIN

Written by: Jillian Craig | Read this story from Kenosha News

Months after the Kenosha Unified School Board approved the relocation of Lakeview Technology Academy to the future Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood, the school board approved the terms of the lease between the district at the Kenosha Area Business Alliance Foundation in a virtual school board meeting Tuesday evening. The agreement awaits finalization of insurance language.


With the exception of Todd Battle, who abstained from voting in the virtual meeting, all board members approved the lease. Battle served as president of KABA for 18 years before taking a new position last year.


The district will enter into a 25-year lease, with the option to extend the term another five years. The annual lease payment is set to double, according to Kenosha Unified Chief Financial Officer Tarik Hamdan.


“Right now we are paying $211, 975.62 in an annual lease payment, and then we sublease with Gateway and we, KUSD, recoup back 35% of that annual lease payment,” Hamdan said. “That ends up costing $137,784.15 a year, and Gateway, for their use of the building in the evenings with their programs, $74,191.47.”


The new annual lease payment for the first five years would be $423,951.25. The district would continue to sublease to Gateway Technical College for evening classes, meaning the cost to the district would be $275,568.31 and the cost for Gateway would be $148,382.94.


After the first five years of the lease, the payment would increase by 2.5% and continue to do so in five year blocks. Funding for the $18.4 million project comes from a Kenosha Area Business Alliance Foundation loan, KABA Foundation contributions, City of Kenosha funding, Gateway borrowing and bonding and a Kenosha Unified capital contribution. The district still faces a $1,620,000 gap in funding. According to an agenda packet item from the board meeting, “this is something currently being pursued by all of the parties.”


The cost of remaining at the current site at Lakeview Tech, 9449 88th Ave., would not be cheap. The current building is reported to have deferred maintenance needs, such as an HVAC unit replacements and carpet replacements. Those could total $1.4 million in the next five years. The school’s lease also ends in June, which necessitates an extension.


In a separate presentation, Lakeview Tech principal Beth Ormseth said the new location would offer additional programming, covering topics such as CNC operation and automated manufacturing. She specified, though, that the expansion of the school did not mean an increase in enrollment, rather an expansion of programming.


“It isn’t just taking more full-time students from the three boundary schools,” Ormseth said. “It really is expanding that programming and expanding those pathways.


“Lakeview as we know it moves, but the expansion is not more full-time students at Lakeview. It is juniors and seniors in a part-time ... track.”


It will be the second semester of the 2024-25 school year, at the earliest, before students will attend the new school.


“I think this is one of the crown jewels of KUSD,” said Board member Eric Meadows in response to Ormseth’s presentation. “Expanding these opportunities for more students is nothing but good for everyone in the city.”

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