Alocal high school at the center of technology education could have a place in the city’s plan to transform the former Chrysler engine plant site and its surrounding neighborhood into a hub for innovation.
LakeView Technology Academy, 9948 88th Ave., Pleasant Prairie, is part of early talks about the site involving the city, Kenosha Unified School District, Gateway Technical College and the Kenosha Area Business Alliance. It could provide an educational anchor to the proposed $1 billion Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood project on 107 acres east of 30th Avenue between 52nd and 60th streets.
“The city has been working with Unified and KABA and Gateway looking at how to move the academy to the Chrysler site to better fit the needs of the students in our community,” Mayor John Antaramian said Thursday night.
LakeView Technology Academy is a specialty high school in KUSD that prepares students looking to enter careers in engineering or higher-level technology. It was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2019 by the U.S. Department of Education, one of just eight such schools in the state and the only high school in Wisconsin to receive the distinction.
Todd Battle, KABA president, said the school district and the city are still in the “very early” stages of discussions.
“LakeView Technology Academy has periodically looked at opportunities to expand and improve the footprint of the school facility. The current site, which is owned by the KABA Foundation and leased to KUSD, has some physical limitations that are an impediment to further growth on the site,” Battle said. “The partners, including KUSD, Gateway Technical College, and KABA, have had preliminary discussions with the City of Kenosha regarding whether a new facility for the school could be part of the redevelopment of the former Chrysler-Kenosha Engine Plant site.
“As the city moves forward with the SmithGroup and efforts to develop a master plan for the site, those discussions continue.”
On Tuesday night, the proposed innovation neighborhood along with its innovation center were also part of what was the first of several meetings that will continue to take place to discuss the plans for the former Chrysler site. Along with the mayor, city staff and consultants with the SmithGroup, about 150 residents attended the information session at the former Brown Bank building in Uptown to learn about the ambitious development plan.
Earlier this year, the city hired the SmithGroup to devise a master plan to define land use and zoning, transportation and other plans involving residential housing, and commercial buildings for the parcel.
“For the city, it’s a very important piece for what we are trying to do for revitalization for the Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods,” Antaramian said. “It will enable our young people to get the skills necessary to stay in our community and to prosper.
“This is just one piece of what we’re working on for the innovation neighborhood … and we’re all working together to make this happen,” he said.