Wolf River Lutheran opens its doors

Gym, other minor fixes still to be completed
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Teacher Ralph Beversdorf, right, plays a game with his students during the first day of school Monday at Wolf River Lutheran High School. Principal Carolyn Bedroske said teachers and students spent much of the first day getting to know each other.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Students and staff walk into the hall for passing period Monday morning at the new Wolf River Lutheran High School. There are more than 30 students enrolled at the school, which moved from its old facility in Cecil to a new location near state Highways 22 and 29 south of Shawano.

An effort years in the making is coming to fruition as the new Wolf River Lutheran High School opened its doors to students Monday.

Thirty-two students attended classes on the first day, but there are several more who were absent, according to Carolyn Bedroske, the school’s principal.

More students could enroll now that the school is in a centralized and visible location in the town of Belle Plaine instead of nestled away in Cecil, where the school had utilized a former Bonduel School District building.

“This has been amazing to know how far we’ve come to get to here,” Bedroske said. “It dawned on me late the night before that we were opening a brand-new building. There was so much time spent working on it, and then we realized that it was really going to happen.”

Parents and other volunteers pitched in over the weekend to make sure classrooms had desks and other necessities in place, the building was properly cleaned and scrubbed, and that lockers were installed.

“I was blown away by how many parents came in to help. They really wanted to see this finished, too,” said Bedroske, whose arm was in a sling Monday after she was injured by some lockers tipping over.

Bedroske said the school is already seeing growth in its student population from parochial schools in Shawano and Clintonville. More students joined the upper classes as well as the incoming freshmen.

The total cost for the construction is expected to be just shy of $2 million, Bedroske said. That cost is up from the $1.3 million estimate touted by school officials in 2014 when they urged congregations at 13 area churches to raise funds for the school.

The school held a groundbreaking in November 2015, but construction did not start in earnest until April of this year. The new building has a main office, six classrooms, kitchen facilities and a gymnasium.

“Construction has gone surprisingly well,” Bedroske said. “Led by Bayland Builders and Kallies Electric, there were workers here as some point 24 hours to get it done on time. It was really fast.”

Bedroske said there is sufficient land to allow for expansion of three to four classrooms to the east and west of the current building, if the school passes its capacity of 75.

Some parts of the school were being worked on as students filed into the building Monday. There was no working phone or internet, and windows still needed to be placed on some of the front office doors, but those things are expected to be resolved by the end of the week.

The school’s gymnasium is a different story, however. Bedroske noted the gym will not be complete until mid-October.

“We’re being held up by superstructures needed to hold up the hoops,” Bedroske said. “Due to the hurricanes, the companies needed to redirect their efforts, so we’ve actually been affected by all this. The floors have to wait until the structures are put up.”

The new school has athletic facilities that the previous school in Cecil did not. Bedroske said a soccer field and track are in place, and baseball fields are in the school’s future to the west of the building.

The old building has been sold to the Church of God in Cecil and is expected to continue as a school, Bedroske said.

“We had really reached capacity in that old school,” she said. “There were three full-sized classrooms and then kind of a half-class. The gym was an old elementary school gym. … We used St. Paul and St. James’ gyms to play our games.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Wolf River Lutheran High School open house

WHERE: W7467 River Bend Road, Shawano

WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 30

FYI: There will be tours of the new school. Cake, coffee and punch will be served, and door prizes will be handed out. There will also be a shredding event and an electronic recycling drive going on at the school.