Kenosha Unified will receive $1 million of the $15 million in stimulus funding announced Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers to help build the proposed Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood where the district’s technology education-based high school is anticipated to be located, said Mayor John Antaramian.
While the School Board has yet to formally take up the proposed project for LakeView Technology Academy’s relocation from Pleasant Prairie to Kenosha, the funding is helping insure the progress of its future move to the innovation neighborhood, the mayor said. LakeView Technology Academy is the district’s choice school specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.
“We’ve put together a number of different funds going to Unified from the city through different parts of the program,” Antaramian told the Kenosha News late Thursday night. “This is moving forward and I believe you will see this occurring.”
Of the $15 million in state stimulus funds, he said $1 million is targeted for the proposed LakeView Technology Academy project. Including the state funding, the city is committing roughly $4 million toward the project, with just over $3 million in federal stimulus funds and TIF resources combined, going toward establishing the high school at the new site, he said.
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“The funding that we need is available at this point in time,” said Antaramian.
City and Kenosha Unified officials have been in discussions since last spring over how to incorporate the academy, currently at 9449 88th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie, into the proposed Innovation Neighborhood site. The district, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and Gateway Technical College have been looking at where the academy could relocate to accommodate future growth, eventually moving from the building it shares at Gateway Technical College’s satellite campus.
“I have every confidence in the school district and what they’re going to do. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community and a tremendous opportunity for the city and the county to really move forward for our young people,” he said. “I just think all the partners — the school district, KABA, Gateway … all of us are going help create a tremendous opportunity for young people.”
The city’s Innovation Neighborhood proposal is focused on transforming the 107-acre former Chrysler Engine Plant property east of 30th Avenue between 52nd and 60th streets into a hub for innovation. The property has laid dormant for more than a decade. The project envisions an innovation center — a 60,000 square-foot “incubator facility” for new business start-ups — with an intrinsic connection to its surrounding neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods are: Lincoln, Columbus, McKinley, Wilson, Roosevelt and Uptown. It is also intended to provide opportunities not just for education, but workforce training, entrepreneurial development and job placement in high-growth digital and STEM fields.
Last summer, the city requested the $15 million in state stimulus funds after the state Legislature, dominated by Republicans, balked at reintroducing the $9.75 million designated for the innovation neighborhood that had originally been proposed in Evers’ version of the Wisconsin’s biennial budget.
School Board President Yolanda Santos Adams in a statement on the district’s social media late Thursday said she looks forward to the project eventually becoming a reality.
“Kenosha Unified is honored to be a part of this forward-thinking partnership that will bring the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood to our community,” Adams said. “This project enables the district to expand LakeView Technology Academy, thereby, affording more families the opportunity to participate in this amazing choice school focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We can’t wait to see this come to fruition and the positive impact it will have on our students, families and community.”
IN PHOTOS: Gov. Evers visits Kenosha to give grant money