By Alex Gary - July 7 2024



The buildings that housed Wright Elementary and McNeel Intermediate school may have for sale signs in front of them by this fall.

Robert Chady, executive director of business services for the School District of Beloit, said at a committee meeting last week that the district started the process of getting those buildings on the market.

The district had Coldwell Banker Commercial, McGuire Mears & Associates of Janesville in to tour the buildings at the end of June. Wright is at 1033 Woodward Ave. and McNeel is at 1524 Frederick St.

That company name is becoming increasingly familiar in the Stateline Area. Coldwell Banker Commercial currently is marketing the former Chemtool headquarters in Rockton and two former Regal Rexnord buildings — one in South Beloit on Gardner Street and the former headquarters at 200 State St.

Coldwell Banker made a strong suggestion that the district get an independent appraisal. Once those are completed the district can work with brokers on a proposed sale price and getting them listed.

In May of 2023, after two referendum questions failed — one a $19.5 million facilities referendum and a $23 million two-year non-recurring operational referendum — the district announced that it was no longer holding regular classes at McNeel and Cunningham middle schools.

Wright School was closed as an elementary school in 2011, but the district was using it for its Beloit Learning Academy. For the 2023-2024 year, BLA students were relocated to Cunningham Intermediate and the Cunningham students were moved to Fruzen Intermediate.

For decades, the School District of Beloit was a very stable district. In 2011, when the district closed Wright as an elementary school along with Royce Elementary, it marked the first time since 1985 that the district had closed a school. Royce was eventually sold to Family Services of Southern Wisconsin. That organization started work converting Royce into the Next Steps Family Resilience Center, which will including housing for up to 18 families, daycare services, a community room and a playground. The school district sold the Morgan Elementary School building to Beloit Health System in 2021. The Kolak Education Center, formerly Roosevelt Junior High School, on Keeler Avenue, was sold in 2020 and has become the Rising Tide Center.

The district has seen its student population decline severely for a variety of reasons.

  • In 1998-1999, the state of Wisconsin began open enrollment, which allows families to send students to schools outside of their district if that district has open seats. Beloit from the beginning has lost more students than it has gained because of open enrollment.
  • In September 2021, Beloit’s first independent public charter school, The Lincoln Academy, opened. Next school year, The Lincoln Academy will for the first time have 4K to grade 12 in its 608 Henry Ave. building with as many as 740 students.
  • Birth rates have been declining over the past decade and that trend has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, the general fertility rate in the United States hit a historic low.In 2012-2013, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction report card, the district had an enrollment of 6,985 students. In 2022-2023, the most recent district report card available, Beloit’s overall district enrollment was just 5,165.

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