New-look campus draws a crowd

With first public peek at referendum upgrades as main attraction, NOSD picnic has parents, students and staff smiling

OZAUKEE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL Mike Leach dished out food for people attending the Northern Ozaukee School District’s annual Back to School Picnic on Tuesday night. Photo by Sam Arendt

ENJOYING THE ANNUAL Northern Ozaukee School District’s Back to School Picnic Tuesday night were Mira Richards, 4; Laynee Richards, 5; Alva Richards, 8; and Jessica Jensen. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

Drawn by the opportunity to get their first peek inside a newly renovated school campus, the Northern Ozaukee School District’s annual Back to School Picnic on Tuesday night drew its largest crowd ever, Supt. Dave Karrels estimated.

“We didn’t do an exact count of people — 1,000 burgers, 1,000 hot dogs and 1,500 ears of corn were cooked for the event,” he said. “This was the largest turnout we’ve had.”

Generally, parents, staff and children were pleased with what they saw.

“There were many positive comments from people who were able to see some of our upgraded facilities for the first time,” Karrels said. 

The Back to School Picnic is a tradition for the school district, with school staff donning aprons and grilling food for parents, children and residents.

This year’s event had the added benefit of showing off the finished construction funded by a $14.95 million referendum passed by voters in April 2018.

The first public viewing of the interior of the school was by five graduating classes of Ozaukee High School, 1969 through 1973, who toured the building recently as part of their class reunion activities.

“There were over 100 people. We were expecting maybe a couple  dozen,” Karrels said. “There was a lot of excitement.”

The front of the building facing Highway 57 is making a statement and helping generate interest from the community, officials said.

“We have a very sharp-looking front of our building. There is a lot of buzz,” Middle School Principal Charlie Schwartz said. 

“This is something we wanted when this place was designed,” School Board member Dan Large said.

While most of the school will be ready for students when classes start on Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Fine Arts Theater will not be completed.

Located in the old cafeteria, the theater includes a concrete slanted floor, will be able to seat more than 500 people and includes a stage and orchestra pit. 

The theater is expected to be completed by November, just in time for holiday performances.

“The contractors know they have a deadline,” Karrels said.



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