Chi-Hi groundbreaking

Ground was broken Wednesday afternoon, signaling the beginning of the construction of a new STEAM lab at Chippewa Falls Senior High School.

The ground has been broken on a Chippewa Falls School District project.

Chippewa Falls Senior High School and Miron Construction held a groundbreaking ceremony at the base of Chi-Hi Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the construction of their new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) lab.

Members of the Chippewa Falls School Board, Chi-Hi staff and students were attendance to celebrate the beginning of the long-awaited project.

The STEAM lab will include a new science lab, improved technology and other various improvements to the building with the funds allocated through a spring 2018 referendum.

The goal for completing the project is spring 2020.

Chippewa Falls School District Superintendent Heidi Eliopoulos said she is grateful the community and school board came together to make this project happen.

“Our board has elected to represent the interests of our community and provide oversight for our public schools,” Eliopoulos said. “This STEAM lab will create new opportunities for hands on authentic learning that will further strengthen students’ knowledge and skills as they prepare for post-secondary college, career and life, strengthening our local talent pool.”

Chippewa Falls Senior High School Principal Donna Goodman said this new facility at Chi-Hi is a key component of the evolution of educating Chippewa Falls’ young minds.

“We look forward to all of the opportunities our students will benefit from with this new STEAM addition,” Goodman said. “This lab is the link between conceptual knowledge, learning in the classroom and applying it to project-based learning.”

In early 2018, a $65 million referendum was approved with 53 percent of voter approval to build a new home for Stillson Elementary School, and making additions and improvements to the existing Chippewa Falls Senior High School and Chippewa Falls Middle School buildings.

Chippewa Falls School Board member Steven Olson said a project of this size has never been attempted in this area before and he is appreciate for the members of the Chippewa Falls community for taking a leap of faith and supporting the project both financially and verbally.

“This is an historic event,” Olson said. “Never before have three projects of this magnitude been done at the same time in the Chippewa Area Unified School District. The school board would like to thank the community shareholders for their approval of this project last year. This is more than a brick and mortar project, it’s a statement from our community that we are committed to the future of our students.”

The building project includes a new 36-acre site in the town of Lafayette, a drastic upscale from the current six-acre site the current Stillson Elementary location is built on. The 30-acre increase will yield more space for a parking lot, playground, athletic fields and more.

The middle school will use its portion of the funds for improvements and repairs to the property, in addition to expanding the technology and space offered at the school.

The groundbreaking celebration for the new Stillson Elementary building will be held on Thursday, May 16 at 3:30 p.m. and the event for the Chippewa Falls Middle School expansion will be on Tuesday, May 21 at 4:30 p.m.

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