Is this the future home of Walden III School?
A group of Walden III School parents are exploring ways to save or move the alternative school, which is housed in Racine Unified's building most in need of renovation.
Flynn, who has two children at Walden and himself graduated from the school in 1981, is floating an interesting possibility for moving Walden to the former Zahn's Building (see an old photo of the Zahn's Building here; and a newspaper article about Zahn's closing here) on Monument Square. The proposal would move Walden to a new building and fill an eyesore in Downtown Racine. It's just an idea at this point, but could be promising.
Here's Flynn's idea, which was written to Walden's Parent Teacher Student Association:
RE: FINAL REPORT REGARDING THE ZAHN'S BUILDING:
This is pure speculation, but based on information I have obtained, renovations to the Zahn's Building would run less than $3 million to host a new Walden III, not including the 14,000 sq ft addition that could be built on the empty lot next to the building. My guess is that could be done for a fraction of what it would cost to renovate and rebuild on the current site where Walden currently resides. I believe this site merits more research and if desired, we should consider what if any interest Unified would have and pursuing this option.
Unified's proposal to add an addition to the existing building is aprox. $15 Million plus repairs to the existing structure which could mount to well over $20 Million when combined. It would be in Unified's and the Tax payers best interest to pursue this option. It will be very unlikely that an opportunity such as this one will ever present itself again in Racine's future. This would be a win for everyone!
Zahn's offers numerous benefits because of it's proximity to public resources, the RAM, Museum, Lake Michigan, Etc. The Solar panels could easily be relocated to this building. The increased activity to Downtown would be an economic boom to the Downtown area. And the new school could offer all the modern conveniences a school should offer today.
Dr. Shaw's vision (Based on what he has told me directly) is our schools should remain small (Less than 600). This building would meet his vision as well as ours. Our goal would be to house up to 550 Students: (This is Key... it must be designed to hold enough classrooms to support say 22 students - 25 classrooms?) Walden has 32 teachers, 1 part time principal, two office staff , Security personnel and would need at least 4 offices for counselors, etc. And a VERY nice Office for the PTSA.
John Murphy of Architectural Associates did the plans for the Imaginarium. The net usable space for all four floors and the basement is approximately 29,000 SF. This would assume that the columns would line up for the proposed layout. The remaining 19,980 square feet is being utilized for elevators, hallways, mechanical rooms, etc.
Figuring that a standard classroom size is approximately 750 square feet (Based on RUSD's online Report) that would leave approximately 10,000 square feet for teachers lounge, cafeteria, fitness area, theater, etc. The lot to the south can accommodate a 14,000 square foot addition with approximately 70% 10,000 sf) of that for net usable space. This would include a basement, 1st and 2nd floor.
Here's some stuff I'll throw at the wall to see what sticks....
The downtown would become an extension of the classroom. Utilizing the library, museums, YMCA, the lake and businesses as educational extensions.
Create an emphasis on creating business and community leaders within the school... maybe even politics. (Our community leaders would LOVE this!)
Convert the front of Zhan's into an actual school store that supports all the apparel needs for sports, spirit wear etc for all of Unified.!
Basement would facilitate the lunch room, fitness center, and classrooms
1st floor could include a possible Lecture hall / Theater, Offices and classroom.
2nd thru 4th designated as classrooms (with 4th floor primarily related to the arts (Music / Art / theater, etc?))
4th floor existing room as a music room
Empty lot could be a parking and basketball court, Possibly able to build an extension to house a gym, racquet ball courts or fitness center.
Roof to support our solar panels (Move from existing building) Etc. etc.
Some interesting sites:
OUR VISION (work in progress):
Please let me know if and how you would like to move forward with this.