Beleaguered Sturtevant SportsPlex owner Fernando Bahena Tuesday told trustees that he is willing to surrender his liquor license if that’s what it takes to move the Renaissance School into his building.
The SportsPlex is located in the Renaissance Business Park south of Highway 20.
Bahena attended the village continual committee meeting with representatives from the Renaissance School – including school founder Frank Trecroci – to help outline plans to turn the SportsPlex into a school building for K4 – 8th grade. Doing so would bring together the two sites Renaissance operates in Pleasant Prairie and Mount Pleasant, respectively.
Since the school opened four years ago, enrollment has grown from 60 to 370 students, many of them voucher recipients, said Dick Laabs, president of Lutheran Urban Mission Initiative (LUMIN), the organization that operates the schools.
For now, reconstruction is concentrated in the current banquet hall area and could also include adjacent bleachers.
Architect William Morris outlined plans for the conversion:
- Building 17 classrooms
- The kitchen would be downgraded considerably to more of a warming station for incoming food service.
- Engineers would create a traffic pattern for bus and parent drop-off/pick-up traffic and designate staff parking as well.
- Outside green space to the east of the SportsPlex would be designed as a playground and possibly for outdoor physical education.
- Inside soccer fields would be used for physical education programming and classes.
Commercial vs. Institutional
A wrench in the plan, though, could be the liquor license Bahena currently holds and the zoning under which the SportsPlex falls.
Bahena frequently hosts public events where liquor is served, and liquor is also stored on-site. Several board members pointed out the incongruity of having a school in the same location as public parties with alcohol.
But, Bahena said he would be willing to surrender his liquor license to move the Renaissance School into the SportsPlex. The timing of his statement works for trustees because village officials were getting ready to enter into an agreement with Bahena that would allow him to continue operating private parties there but not the 3 Monkeys bar.
Sturtevant police have recorded numerous incidents of out-of-control parties and patrons in 3 Monkeys, and Bahena was in danger of having his liquor license revoked altogether if he didn’t agree to the village’s conditions.
Sturtevant leaders recently revised the Code of Ordinances, so the SportsPlex can either be zoned as a commercial property or as an institutional property, but it cannot be both. In order for the Renaissance School to relocate there, the building would have to be rezoned into an institutional designation.
Trecroci said Renaissance would first enter a long-term lease with Bahena, but the ultimate goal is for the school to buy the SportsPlex building in five to 10 years.
Assuming the details can be worked out, the Renaissance would open in Sturtevant this fall. Enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year begins Feb. 1.
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