New Elementary School
The Rimrock area (south of the beltline and east of South Park St./Highway 14) is home to more than 400 MMSD students who attend schools approximately 6 miles from home with bus rides as long as 42 minutes.
- Approximately 260 of these students attend Frank Allis Elementary School on Madison’s far East side at 4201 Buckeye Rd.
- Approximately 150 of these students attend Nuestro Mundo Community School, a dual-language public charter school that operates out of a facility leased from the Monona Grove School District at 902 Nichols Rd. in Monona.
We believe that a priority is to build a new elementary school in the Rimrock area to address structural equity concerns and better serve students and families living there.
We’re looking toward actions that would benefit both Nuestro Mundo students and Frank Allis students.
Through October and November, we met with both school communities and with the Rimrock area neighborhood to help us explore options:
- Moving Nuestro Mundo into a new building in the Rimrock area.
- Moving Allis Elementary School students into a new building in the Rimrock area, and moving Nuestro Mundo students into the Frank Allis building.
- Other options
Rimrock Area School Frequently Asked Questions
If the referendum for the facility plan should pass, MMSD will purchase the land and building located at 501 East Badger Road. A building at the site currently houses the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center (operated by Rooted) and Badger Rock Middle School (BRMS), and offers programs through Rooted, the new name adopted when Community GroundWorks and the Center for Resilient Cities merged in January 2020. The new elementary school would be attached to the current building.
BRMS, the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center, and Rooted programs, including the school gardens and community gardens on site, would all remain at that location and the new elementary school would be attached to the current building. See Exhibit B for an example site map.
This site, one of very few parcels of land in the area that can accommodate a school, offers many advantages. It will benefit from and build on the strong community presence of the current Badger Rock Neighborhood Center and BRMS -- maintaining unique property elements such as community and school gardens, an onsite farmer, community dinners, and other programming. MMSD has worked with a team of architects and the City of Madison to ensure site feasibility and suitability for this purpose.
The new school as designed at this time would have the same attendance area that exists today for Allis Elementary School. Students who primarily reside in the Rimrock area will attend the new neighborhood school in the Rimrock area. We are extremely excited to work with the Rimrock area community to conceptualize the educational model and other features of the new school. We cannot wait to welcome Rimrock area students to their very own neighborhood school!
Referenda 2020 includes a plan to build an elementary school to serve between 400 and 450 students in the Rimrock area, a diverse neighborhood currently underserved without a local neighborhood school. See Exhibit B for an example site map.
We are extremely excited to work with the Rimrock area community to conceptualize the educational model and other features of the new school. Students and families will experience a neighborhood school that can be the center of their community as most will walk to school, participate in school and community events, and even have access to BRMS as a middle school option for their children if they opt to stay in their neighborhood through 8th grade.
After the passing of the facilities referendum, a group of community members will work together with MMSD staff to dialogue on the assets, desires, and needs of the community and how they can best be reflected and addressed by the new elementary school. We anticipate this will occur in the coming months and be completed by June 2021.
The anticipated start date for attendance in a new building would be a few years out. If the referendum passes in November 2020, it will be followed by a period of planning. Then, the school in the Rimrock area will need to be built before any students move. We anticipate that the Rimrock area school would open fall of 2023 at the earliest. The opening date will depend on the outcome of our planning and could further be affected by construction timelines. There will be active communication with the school community throughout the process to keep families informed.
Both MMSD and Rooted are very excited about this possibility, and have worked together very closely to ensure continuation of shared building and space use that will allow both organizations to carry out their missions. The community will gather at Badger Rock Neighborhood Center to celebrate this exciting development when COVID-19 restrictions allow for a community gathering.
MMSD has six other campuses where two schools share a building. Our schools that share buildings have realized several positive aspects such as older students mentoring younger students, staff members learning together, smooth transitions between grade levels when the students migrate to the other school, and resource sharing. In this case, the available space for a school in the neighborhood was very limited and this was the clear best option. In addition, having the neighborhood center within the schools is truly an exciting aspect for both of the schools and the community.
The purchase cost of the land and building on Badger Road is $6.4M. The purchase of the building is contingent on the facilities referendum passing, if the referendum does not pass the Board of Education would need to put these plans on hold at least for the short term. The estimate to build a new elementary school on this site attached to the current middle school on the site is approximately $25M and would be paid for with referendum funds.
Because this plan includes moving Nuestro Mundo from a leased space in Monona Grove into Allis School within MMSD boundaries once Allis is vacated, MMSD will no longer need to lease space for Nuestro Mundo. Ending this lease will free up over $177,000 in the annual operating budget to fund the ongoing operations of the new building.