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REAL School students are expected to begin the next school year in Sturtevant after the school board Monday night approved the $5.2 million purchase of the Sturtevant SportsPlex.

This was the last major decision of the sitting board before new members are sworn in next week.

Racine Unified staff members recommended the SportsPlex purchase as a viable way to expand programming and curriculum at the REAL School, a story in The Journal Times reads, given the building’s proximity to the iMET Center at Gateway just down the road.

The district will borrow the money to buy the property with a 10-year repayment plan and the expectation that renting out the facility for various sporting events – like indoor soccer – will help generate revenue at the same time, the story continues.

Additionally, there are around 350 students currently attending the REAL School, but that number could jump to 500 or even 600 with the additional space and potential for students to take classes at the iMET Center and/or participate in internships through Gateway Technical College.

Officials in Sturtevant are concerned with the loss of tax revenue, which is estimated at around $50,000 per year. Trustee Chris Wright has discussed in committee meetings asking the district for a payment in lieu of taxes, but the village board hadn’t made a decision either way because they were waiting for the school board to act.

The SportsPlex does need extensive renovation before it can be used as a school, the newspaper story notes, and those plans are expected to come forward in the coming weeks.

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