How we identified projects to address in a facilities referendum

We have many facility-related needs, so strategy is key. Priorities for facilities include a commitment to maintaining our comprehensive high schools as well as solving our most pressing equity needs.

  • Our instructional and facilities teams worked together referencing feedback from staff, students, families, and the community collected over three years.
  • We then took initial project proposals to students and staff and specific communities to get their input.
  • We engaged in several first-round focus groups and surveys to get the community’s initial reactions, and made revisions based on feedback

Why this is important

We have identified a need to bring our school buildings into the twenty-first century with modern, flexible, classrooms that support multiple learning styles. Safe spaces that are well-lit, inviting, accessible, and climate-controlled and that foster engagement, relationship-building, and positive climate and culture. Buildings that better reflect the value we place on Madison’s growing minds and future citizens, leaders, and workforce. Madison has an opportunity to impact students in every attendance area, and to modernize these buildings for the community’s use.

We have an opportunity to strategically address structural equity concerns through a new Rimrock area school and by moving Capital High students to Hoyt School.

Community feedback: environmental sustainability and debt structure 

A persistent theme in the community input that the school board heard throughout fall 2020 was a strong desire for additional investments in environmental sustainability projects with a return on investment.  (View a February 25, 2020 meeting at La Follette on the potential sustainability projects.) 
After exploring both existing and potential sustainability investments and hearing feedback, the board came to a $2M figure to improve the sustainability and health of our high schools, bringing the facilities referendum ask from $315M to $317M.

Also based on feedback from the community, the board has restructured the debt associated with the facilities referendum to layer in the costs of the referendum slowly over time for taxpayers, as opposed to making larger debt payments in the years immediately following the referendum.

Detailed Timeline 

In the event the facilities referendum passes, you can see the detailed proposed timeline by clicking the image below.

Detailed Referendum Timeline

Transforming Madison's four comprehensive high schools

East High School

East High School

Our focus would be on completing much-needed updates, including full renovations of labs, STEAM, and hands-on learning and exploration spaces, a major redesign of the commons area known as “the mall,” extensive improvements to keep the building warm in winter and the addition of whole-school air conditioning. 

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for East High School 

La Follette High School

La Follette High School

Our focus would be on major reinvestments in classroom spaces and creating additional state-of-the-art labs and STEAM space. Instructional spaces would be upgraded to allow for flexible arrangements that support multiple learning styles. This could include connections between classrooms and breakout spaces along hallways to encourage impromptu collaborative moments during passing periods or over lunch. 

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for La Follette High School 

Memorial High School 

James Madison Memorial High School

Major renovations to instructional spaces, labs, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) will create modern, collaborative, and flexible learning environments that support teachers in guiding student inquiry, critical thinking, and dialogue.

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for Memorial High School

West High School 

West High School

A major reinvestment in classroom spaces would allow for learning environments that are student-centered, collaborative, and exploratory.

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for West High School

Additional high-impact projects

Rimrock Area - Exploring a possible elementary school on the South Side of Madison

Student artwork

We believe that a priority of a facilities referendum is to explore the idea of building a new elementary school in the Rimrock area to address structural equity concerns and better serve students and families living there.

Eighty-one percent of MMSD students from the Rimrock area are from low-income households, 89% are students of color, and 50% are English Language Learners. 

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for the Rimrock Road area 

Give Capital High School Students a Home School 

Capital High / Hoyt

Currently, Capital High’s 160 students are split between two buildings. Seventy-five students receive their education in a leased strip mall site with a 60-person capacity on the far West side of Madison. Capital High Eastside students borrow space on the third floor of 4K-2 Lapham Elementary School. 

Hoyt School, which currently houses our Madison School and Community Recreation (MSCR) administrative offices and programming, is the only available building that MMSD owns that has the potential to meet Capital High’s academic vision for its students. 

Learn more about improvements and recommendations for Capital High 

Referendum Resources