OHS East Campus Open House

The fact that Oconomowoc is a growing and rapidly diversifying community centered conveniently between the hubs of Milwaukee and Madison should have already been enough to prove that it has quite a lot going for it. But Oconomowoc’s quaint lakes, its wide range of parks, and its far and sprawling neighborhoods were not enough for the voters in 2016. They wanted more. They wanted something that screamed to Lake Superior that Oconomowoc is the best Wisconsin has to offer. As it turned out, that something was a referendum. A 54.9 million dollar referendum, at that.

Although it was obvious that the funds were for educational purposes in the Oconomowoc Area School District, many residents were still quite curious as to what this referendum was going to look like and just what it was going to do. Some were optimistic, some were skeptical, and some were still outraged that the majority voted ‘YES’. But if the East Campus Dedication this past Sunday is any indication of what good this referendum has done--and still has left to do--every penny was worth it.

Overall, the East Campus Opening and Dedication was a welcoming event. If not for the fact that just about everybody in the community was invited, but because of the warm procession put on by the OHS Musical Department at the front entrance. From there, guests were politely ushered into the Wilkinson Board Room, so named for the John Wilkinson Clinic that once was OHS’ East Campus. It wasn’t long after this that the ceremony began. Following a beautiful performance of the Nation Anthem, a number of keynote speakers shared acknowledgments about East Campus. `From OHS’ own Principal Jason Curtis, to OASD’s Superintendent Roger Rindo, all the way to School Board President Jessica Karnowski, it was obvious that all couldn’t be more grateful for the Wilkinson Family, and that all couldn’t be more optimistic for what the future holds at OHS.   

Although the opening ceremony eventually had to come to an end, the day was far from over for East Campus. Following a formal ribbon-cutting (giant scissors and all), Oconomowoc community members were then given the opportunity to follow OHS student tour guides, all of whom were more than happy to show them around, answer inquiries, and explain--sometimes in great detail--what being a student at East Campus is like. However, community members were not restrained to East Campus. If they so chose, guests had the opportunity to either drive or, as some students say, “walk the trail” on the freshly paved path between OHS Main Campus and OHS East Campus. There, community members were exposed to the fresh paint job and state-of-the-art renovations at OHS’ Main Campus. From the brand new “Fab-Lab”, to the fully-loaded Auto Department, community members truly got to see firsthand what good the hard work of the amazing architecture crew Eppstein Uhen and the amazing construction crews Nicholson Associates and Oliver Construction have done.  

But it wasn’t just the modern classrooms, fresh paint jobs, or the all-you-can-eat refreshment tables that left Oconomowoc community members satisfied. Beyond all of that, what really kept them engaged was the environment of it all. From the friendly faces of the staff and the student body, the, as Principal Curtis put it,  “electricity” of 1900 hard working people, to the boundless pride in Purple and Gold, Oconomowoc community members were exposed to a truly revolutionary open-house. One that really showed them what it means to be a Raccoon. 54.9 million dollars is, without question, a lot of money to spare. Yet, as was mentioned before, when it comes to a successful educational environment like the ones OHS’ East and Main Campus facilitate, every penny is worth it. When it comes to the success of Oconomowoc’s students, Oconomowoc’s teachers, and Oconomowoc’s future, the end justifies the means. Even so Lake Superior can hear that Oconomowoc is the best Wisconsin has to offer, no expense should be spared.

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Works Cited:

Langan, Tyler. “Oconomowoc Schools' $54.9 Million Referendum Passes.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, USA TODAY, 9 Nov. 2016, www.jsonline.com

OconomowocZach Nienhuis