RACINE — It came in about $1 million over the original estimate, but the Racine Unified School Board has approved construction of new Horlick High School science labs and a two-story addition with an elevator which will cost about $4.8 million.
Included in that amount is $266,000 for “contingencies,” in case unexpected problems occur during construction.
“We’re always heavy on the contingencies,” said Unified Chief Operations Officer David Hazen. “When you start breaking down walls that are 50, 60 years old, sometimes you need a little (financial) room.”
Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.
Superintendent Lolli Haws said the number of students enrolling in science fields has jumped dramatically, causing changes in the district’s plans for construction.
“One of the reasons that the Horlick (construction) is taking us a minute to identify the funding is because that was not in the original plan,” Haws said, adding that originally, the school’s John R. Belden Fieldhouse was going to be upgraded first. “We were moving forward with the Horlick fieldhouse and then looking at our science enrollment and the enrollment in the biomedical classes … we quickly realized we need to look at those (upgrades).”
At Case High School, Haws said, students in science classes rose from about 60 students to about 400 students this year, in large part because of the Academies of Racine, which aims to help students choose a career field after high school.
“We want to do something every year to build out those academies,” Haws said.
The School Board approved the construction financing and financing the furniture in the classrooms, costing about $181,000, on May 15 in a 7-0 vote. School Board members Matthew Hanser and Michelle Duchow were absent.