School Districts Eye New Bridge


School districts in far western Wisconsin are beginning talks about how a major bridge project will affect enrollment. They expect the bridge will bring more people, which means more students.

Construction has not even begun on the four-lane bridge known as the St. Croix River Crossing but school boards near the site are already talking about impacts on their classrooms. Far western Wisconsin and St. Croix County in particular represent some of the fastest growing areas in the state as the Twin Cities suburbs spill over the border.

It is expected the new bridge will add to the population boom. Somerset School District Administrator Randy Rosburg says the bridge will not be completed until 2016 but planning for a new high school takes time too. “It’s officially on the plate to start talking about the ‘what ifs’ that might come from a bridge opening.”

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Rosburg says real estate developers are already looking at property within the Somerset district and it makes sense to be ready. “I think it’s realistic to say that we have the potential to grow and have it impact our schools with increased enrollment, that number though is unknown to me at this time.”

Next door in Osceola the school board has already started talks about how the St. Croix River Crossing may impact them. Superintendent Mark Leubker says they heard from an official with the bridge project who said it would be capable of handling 100,000 vehicles per day. “The bridge will bring a significant amount of traffic into Wisconsin. So, we are planning ahead and looking at the possibility of influx of populations because of the increased traffic flow.

According to data from the state’s demographic services center St. Croix County’s population will grow 135 percent by 2035.