Fitness classes, afterschool activities make for busy center
The community Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) reviewed building space needs in 2006 and concluded that additional space was needed for fitness classes and athletic use. The committee considered construction of a fieldhouse as a solution, but survey data showed lack of support for a facility that was expected to cost nearly $15 million in 2008, and the idea was dropped. Instead, the district renovated the Hamilton High School gym in 2008, replacing materials original to the school built in 1963, but space was not added.
Increased enrollment & participation drives need for space
Student enrollment and athletic participation continued to increase. Structural concerns and ADA accessibility arose.
- Student athletic participation increased 33 percent and six levels of sports were added in the past decade.
- Space in the gym which was original to the school built in 1963 was limited. School hallways and the cafeteria were used for classes and training.
- The second floor weight room was not ADA accessible.
- Dropping of free weights on the floor created facility distress and was becoming a structural issue.
Community advisory group recommends lower-cost facility
The FAC reconvened in October, 2013 and recommended building an alternative to a fieldhouse that would be substantially less costly for construction and maintenance and provides access for a greater variety of activities than is available in a fieldhouse. A multi-purpose facility with space for fitness education classes during the day and athletic training after the school day was recommended. The district maintenance budget and fund balance would be used to cover its cost of $4.8 million without going to a referendum to increase taxes. The center opened in the fall of 2014.
Hamilton Athletic Center use
- Intended for physical education classes, training and practice, but not performances, games or contests
- Nearly 40 girls and boys teams, squads and the marching band will use the indoor practice space
- Since January, 2015, the facility has been used every school day for fitness education classes during the school day and 99 percent of the time that the space was available after school and Saturdays. Excluding holidays and Sundays when the center is not open, there was only one day when the facility was not being used – Saturday, Jan. 3, during winter break.
Classes and groups that use the Hamilton Athletic Center
|During the school day||
After school hours and on Saturdays
January – April 2015 data
District savings allows funding of facility projects
Hamilton School District administrators have worked with a variety of outside consultants to implement cost-saving measures like those used in business. The district has been recognized by Public Policy Forum and Waukesha County as a government entity that manages for results. The priority was to avoid cuts that had a direct impact in the classroom, but create savings that allowed the district to fund facility projects. The district has met the needs of its growing community without increasing taxes on residents during an economically difficult time. Previous reductions and cost-saving were achieved by:
- Requiring employees to pay a percentage of their wages (ranging from 5.9 to 7 percent) for retirement contributions.
- Eliminating employee post-employment healthcare coverage through conversion to an HRA, saving the district approximately $22 million in benefit liability.
- Implementing energy-efficient practices that avoided more than $1.3 million in energy expenses despite adding more than 100,000 square feet of new space. Practices include an energy management system, replacing boilers with energy-efficient models, adding variable-speed drives on air handling units, installing automatic setback systems for climate and lighting controls.
- Restructuring debt, saving taxpayers more than $12 million.
- Making changes to the district’s self-funded employee medical and drug plan which is why healthcare expenses have been significantly below national average increases, thereby avoiding nearly $20 million in health care costs since 2005.
- Implementing across-the-board athletic, department, office and building reductions.
- Cutting back on purchase of supplies, materials, equipment and contracted services.
- Keeping the number of administrative positions low in comparison to other school districts (Hamilton’s student-to-administrator ratio is 316 to 1 compared to the state ratio of 246 to 1.)