Dome to be built at Spencer schools after referendum passes

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SPENCER, Wis. (WSAW) -- Voters in Spencer are giving the school district $5.9 million for upgrades. The money will be used in a number of areas, but the most notable addition is a dome that will be built in the next few years.

The new Spencer dome will provide much-needed help to a school and community with facilities that need upgrades.

"I think that's what caught everybody's eye,” said District Administrator Michael Endreas. “I feel like a lot of people thought we were building the Metrodome or something."

While not quite a 64,000-person professional sports stadium, the news is being met with enthusiasm.

"I hear a lot of positive things from parents, from community members, from students,” said Spencer Middle and High School Principal Jason Gorst. “I think everybody's pretty jacked up about it."

An expanded gym, modernized wellness center and wrestling room are some of the obvious benefits, but what about if a natural disaster rolled through?

"It's rated for an EF5 tornado,” said Endreas. “So in addition to providing classroom space and sports space for our school, it will also double as a tornado shelter for our community."

The dome wasn't even an option on the table until a Spencer alum, with an engineering background, came in last minute, and threw a wrench in the original plan.

"We have a past grad, Jordan Buss, who got on our board, he was elected last April,” explained Endreas. “'What about this idea' he brings to the board at the last minute, and there's FEMA money. Everybody put the brakes on everything that we talked about and said 'wait a minute’."

The end goal is that the project improves the current community, and makes it appealing to those who may be looking to move to Spencer.

"I think it does bode well for somebody who might be moving into the area and trying to select a school or trying to select an area to settle down in or send their kids to,” explained Gorst. “It also just speaks to the community and their support of education."

The school district could receive up to $2.5 million dollars from FEMA, they'll find out the exact number next month. They hope to start construction in April 2020, it will take just more than a year to complete.