STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - Stevens Point needs more specific details before they can consider the proposed Stevens Point Area Senior High School Life Skills Center building project.
The proposed building would be located on land the Stevens Point school district already owns along north 2nd Street, immediately west of the SPASH parking lots.
Plan Commission members and the public expressed concerns about the location of the building, and safe access for wheelchairs.
Mayor Andrew Halverson is on the City Plan Commission, which told school officials they need more complete information before they can approve construction. “What we’re going to need is a final site plan to know exactly, of course, where the building will be positioned. We’re going to have them speak to snow storage. We know we need to make sure we have a distance issue at play with a school, a teaching environment if you will, and licensed liquor establishments that are in the area, so we need to make sure that distance question is answered and we get an exact site plan.”
The proposed Life Skills Center would replace rented space at Evergreen Apartments across the street that is used to teach basic living skills to special needs students, many of which are in wheelchairs.
Some residents have been upset with the planned building saying the district doesn’t need to spend the money. Others have been critical of the process school officials used to choose a Wausau contractor without putting the project out to bid with the local builders association. There were people who chose to speak against the project, but Halverson had to remind them the city is only interested in if it’s done properly, saying, “That’s not a city matter, that’s a school district matter. Our matter is: Does it work well in the neighborhood? Does it make sense? Does it meet the conditional use standards? From my perspective, it does.”
The Stevens Point School District has scaled down the proposed building to about 3,500 square feet to keep the cost below the $400,000 budgeted for construction.Halverson says, “Like so many other public agencies, they’ve got to be real about what they can afford to do.”
The Life Skills Center has helped about 330 students since the program began in 2000.