Early school release paves way for summer projects, new high school in Sun Prairie

Summer break is coming early for the Sun Prairie Area School District to give district officials extra time to prepare for major changes in the fall.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 4:24 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2022 at 9:05 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Summer break is coming early for the Sun Prairie Area School District to give district officials extra time to prepare for major changes in the fall.

The last day of school is Thursday and for students and staff across the district it also marks the end of an era, as the district prepares to open a new high school and undergo a new secondary reconfiguration.

“There’s mixed emotions and people are excited, and people are anxious,” said Superintendent Brad Saron for SPASD.

The results of a 2019 referendum approved by Sun Prairie voters are finally coming to fruition. That includes the completion of a new high school, which will be called Sun Prairie West High School.

“We are on time and on budget. They will hand over the keys to West High School right in the middle of August,” said Saron.

The current Sun Prairie High School will undergo renovations this summer and become Sun Prairie East High School. The district’s third high school, Prairie Phoenix Academy, is moving to a new location on the far west side of what is currently called Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School but will soon be known as Central Heights Middle School.

By the fall, the three high schools will host grades 9-12, while the three middle schools will have grades 6-8.

“What this will do is it will increase the amount of time that students stay in a particular school. It will increase to 3 years for our middle schools and 4 years for our High Schools and that gives our students enough time to develop the relationships with staff and develop a sense of identity with those locations,” said Saron.

Saron also explained that with a district of 8,500 students, 2,400 of which are in grades 6-12, these changes are necessary to accommodate a growing city and address crowded schools.

Carson Schmoldt is a junior, wrapping up his final days of school at the current Sun Prairie High School. He’ll be among the first to become a wolf at the new Sun Prairie West High School for his senior year.

“It’s bittersweet when you grow up being a cardinal and all the experiences you look up to with older siblings and some of your friends, but at the same time it’s exciting to set what will be the precedent for the rest of Sun Prairie history,” said Schmoldt.

Schmoldt expects there to be new leadership opportunities in his academic clubs, but also in his extracurricular activities, at the new high school.

“I’ve been involved with the Varsity soccer team all 4 years, so it’ll be exciting now to be a wolf and compete against Sun Prairie East next year,” said Schmoldt.

The 2022-23 school year will start shortly after Labor Day, which is a little later than usual for SPASD.

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