Neenah’s Debate Between Pathways

What is the perceptive of a middle school student who may encounter a new high school on the west site?


Jordon Van Domelen, Student of Journalism

Listen to a podcast that shares her voice.


As many are aware, the Neenah Joint School District is seeking to undergo a large long-term change. It has posted all the possible pathways, or possible changes, that the district could see.

The most popular pathways shown on the Neenah website through district engagement sessions are Pathway #2 and Pathway #5.

Pathway #2 would include a new 5th and 6th grade intermediate school on the west side site. Along with that, a new 7th and 8th grade school would be built in the current Shattuck location.

Pathway #5 would lead to the building of a new high school on the west side site. The current high school would be renovated and turned into a middle school; this would accommodate 5th-8th grade students.

While taking a glance at Pathway #5, a variety of questions could begin to float to the surface.

Shattuck Middle School, being made almost entirely of brick, and its ceiling crumbling like cookies, has nearly seen its last days. While thoughts of renovations were brought up, change is nearly impossible for this aging school – removing it completely would be the simplest option.

On the other hand, Principal Brian Wunderlich said that NHS classrooms had once before been re-purposed, proving how easily a second change could be made to accommodate middle school students.

In addition to the middle school a new high school would be the crown jewel of the district. Wunderlich pointed out that the current high school was not built for 500 students to safely drive in and out of the school in an orderly fashion. An increased amount of space decreases the risk of accidents. As stated in The Post-Crescent this summer when the land was purchased, “I think that this land provides a lot more flexibility to the district going forward,” Communication Mangager Jim Strick said.

He also says the school isn’t as secure as it could be. If a new high school were to be made, Wunderlich hopes to increase security by using advanced entrances and stronger dividers during school events.

The high school is the only school every student will attend for four years. Many students spend more time at school than at home, practically living at the high school. The upcoming generation of students require diverse learning environments. “I would put our staff against any staff in regards to their talent,” Wunderlich said. He also said that a new high school would be able to provide teachers with new classrooms, which offer more learning opportunities.

As can be seen, Pathway #5 has many advantages that could greatly impact N.J.S.D.  Clearly, Pathway #5 has the potential to impact current 8th graders the most.  Listen to this podcast — Marley Van Domelen, class of 2024,– shares her thoughts on a new high school.