Digging in for the future: Racine Unified breaks ground on three new schools

RACINE -- For any school district, breaking ground on a new school is a big deal. The Racine Unified School District will do just that three separate times just this week.

On Monday, August 17th, crews prepared the site of the new Olympia Brown Elementary School -- which will open with a focus on science.

"We all know that's a much-needed career, profession for children as they become adults. So this will foster that interest," said Dr. Lolli Haws, Racine Unified Superintendent.

The school will remain in Caledonia where in April, voters narrowly supported an advisory referendum on creating the village's own school district. The vote has no official impact, but it does color ongoing discussions in Caledonia and Sturtevant about whether to remain in Racine Unified.

"That's all being debated right now. We have an ad hoc committee right now working on those types of questions and not to circumvent anything they're trying to accomplish. I don't know what the direction will be," said Bob Bradley, Caledonia Village President.

"The fact we're building in Caledonia acknowledges two things. It acknowledges there were needs out here that hadn't been met efficiently. And it acknowledges the fact Caledonia is likely the place where growth will be in the future for this part of the Racine Unified School District," said Haws.

As for the rest of the construction, Racine Unified will build a new Knapp Elementary School -- which will also offer community medical and recreational services through the United Way. The district will also expand Gifford Elementary School, transforming it into a K-8 school.

Superintendent Haws says the goal is for all three schools to be ready for class by fall 2016. The district will hold groundbreaking events for Gifford and Knapp on Wednesday and Thursday.