We don’t need to be fortune tellers to say with confidence the opening of the new Verona Area High School will easily be one of Verona’s biggest stories of 2020.
In fact, several of our projected top stories of the year are a result, at least partially, of the new school campus.
The opening of the new building on the city’s west side in September 2020 will create more than fancy new buildings for students. It will consolidate all of the district’s first-line athletic facilities and opens hand-me-down new spaces for other schools, with the old high school transforming into Badger Ridge Middle School and a charter school campus and the old Badger Ridge and Core Knowledge Charter School campus becoming an expanded Sugar Creek Elementary School.
And with the 60-year-old Sugar Creek building no longer in use, it will be destroyed and replaced by something – we just don’t know what yet. That decision is expected to be made in the next several months by the city’s Community Development Authority, which will control the land and is soliciting developers to come up with a community-oriented project as soon as this month.
Just across Legion Street from that property is the now empty Sugar Creek Commons site, which has been held up for months. Certainly, the new campus will make West Verona Avenue a much busier street, and it’s possible the extra traffic has an effect on whether that project – which is asking for millions of dollars in city assistance – is built this year.
Another project on West Verona Avenue, Market No. 5, is already being built just north of the apartments adjacent to the school.
And related, though not directly resulting from the hand-me-down effect of the new school and the building changes is a city contract with a private company to provide crossing guard services, something that was always in short supply in recent years.
Just one of our top six stories of 2020 has nothing to do with the school – that’s the hiring of a new fire chief with Joe Giver’s retirement.