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Preparations under way for Lakeland School ground breaking

Despite court appeal, ceremony set for June 1

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published May 16, 2007, 9:35 a.m.)

Despite legal wrangling over construction of the new $18 million Lakeland School, dirt is being moved and concrete poured.

Walworth County's new school for children with disabilities is being built on County NN across from the Lakeland Health Care Center. The project is in its third week, and construction is on schedule, said Public Works Superintendent Larry Price.

The county board decided to forge ahead with the project despite a lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Wisconsin. The group claims building a bigger school for children with disabilities promotes segregation and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A federal judge threw out the case because Disability Rights Wisconsin failed to show the school would injure anybody in the county. That ruling is being appealed, but the county board decided to move forward.

"We live in a world where anybody can get sued for anything," said Shane Crawford, the county's public works director. "We've been reasonably assured that the appeal won't be granted. The county is in a position where we had to move one way or another, and we're confident it will sustain the appeal process."

Even though bulldozers already are at work, a ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 1.

Speakers will include Director of Special Education Tracy Moate, County Administrator David Bretl, County Board Chairwoman Ann Lohrmann, supervisors David Weber, Dorothy Burwell and Jerry Grant, who are members of the Children with Disabilities Educational Board, Public Works Committee Chairman Allan Polyock, and East Troy School District Administrator Robert Spence.

Wisconsin Senator Neal Kedzie and Assemblyman Thomas Lothian, a former county board member, will also speak.

Completion is targeted for July 1, 2008, and the school should be ready for the start of the 2008-09 school year, Crawford said.

Janesville-based J.P. Cullen & Sons is the lead contractor for the project. Architecture was done by Plunkett Raysich Architects out of Milwaukee.

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