City Council approves application for district's welcome center plan

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BELOIT - The Beloit City Council on Monday approved an application for a master land use plan for the constructive of the School District of Beloit's welcome center at 1500 Fourth St., according to information provided  by Community Development Director Julie Christensen.

The plan had been recommended for approval by the city's plan commission on Feb. 7.

In an interview before the meeting, Planning and Building Services Director Drew Pennington explained how the site is being rezoned from a commercial 3 classification to a planned unit development. Although office spaces can be constructed with a commercial 3 classification, the planned unit development classification gives more flexibility for development.

Pennington noted the district is moving the building closer to the corner for more of a modern and urban design. The parking will be in the back of the building.

The city's master land use plan involves the construction of a two-story, 25,000 square-foot office building to house administrative offices, board meeting rooms, training facilities and more. The land use plan also includes an off-street parking lot containing 112 stalls with new driveways on Fourth Street and Shore Drive.

In July, the board of education approved issuing $5.5 million in bonds to build a welcome center to house the district's administrative staff at Maple Avenue and Fourth Street. Included in the plan was a possible turnaround lane behind the natatorium and a front door canopy for Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS). The board had only approved phase one of the proposed four-phase plan offered by Beloit 2020.

The district's planned welcome center was set to break ground in mid-March and should be mostly completed in December. The general contractor chosen was Gilbank Construction of Clinton and the architect selected was Angus Young Associates.

Board of Education President Laurie Endres said the district's new welcome center will be located in the center of Beloit and will serve as one of the city's proud first impressions.

"We want to thank all those involved in this project including city of Beloit staff and city council for their hard work and collaboration," Endres said.

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