West Bend School Board discusses steps needed to possibly merge high schools
The West Bend School District Committee of the Whole met Monday, Dec. 2. It reviewed the district’s current and future facilities.
Aside from reviewing replacement vs. repair costs, energy needs, transportation and the dynamics surrounding an operational referendum the board talked about the declining enrollment and how that will affect the West Bend High Schools in the coming years.
In October 2019, Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said, “unless there is a change in enrollment trends, the district can expect declining enrollment for the next 8-10 years.”
Predicted enrollment trends, including numbers from the high schools which show a drop in enrollment from 2019 at 2,184 to 1,669 in 2028.
Board member Joel Ongert brought up Policy 188: Should the Board decide to further consider reconfiguration of the high schools, the Board must proceed to a non-binding referendum at the next Gubernatorial or Presidential election balloting. The next Presidential election is Nov. 3, 2020.
Policy 188 was put into place in 2015; it was the last time the district broached the subject of combining the two high schools.
Joel Ongert – “The way this policy reads and all the steps, this could take potentially years… So, I think it’s time we look at this policy. I’m not saying we totally eliminate it; I’m not saying that we … maybe not necessarily start from scratch. I think it’s time we start looking at this policy, just in case in the future the declining enrollment numbers … It would be easier for us to close an elementary school than it would be to combine the two high schools.”
Chris Zwygart – “It’s worthy of at least examining. Prior boards, I understand at that time there was very interesting discussion and a lot of passion so I can understand the intent, but I think we need to balance that with our current circumstances and …. to give ourselves the flexibility and options to do. So, I’m supportive a review of it.”
Ongert – “There’s $45 million worth of work at the high school and we’d be remiss not to think about … if we were to get $45 million and talk about paint. Do we start painting everything blue and maroon again? Or do we start talking about maybe it’s time we combine the two high schools and maybe that becomes part of a referendum question and you know we want to borrow $45 million and a separate advisory question is do you want us to combine the high schools.”Tonnie Schmidt – “I agree to have the policy reviewed. We don’t need to decide right now … but if we’re going to spend a lot of money, I would like to consider seeing it spent in such a way, say 10 years from now… we don’t have to redo things.”
Paul Fischer – “It’s important we look at what the financial implications are. Would we go to one athletic director? Probably with that amount of students, probably not – it’s an A.D. and an assistant. I came out in 2015 as a passionate supporter of two high schools. If enrollment continues to decline and we see more co-op teams, we also need to consult Erin and Kevin to find out how quickly can we tell the WIAA that one of our schools no longer exists.”
Don Kirkegaard – “It truly will be a lengthy process, and this is a huge decision. We like this heritage – we don’t throw this out just on a whim, but you have to look at all the financial and enrollment data.”
Ongert – “I find it interesting it would take a lot of time for us to combine the high schools following this policy versus closing an elementary school or some other major decision. I understand why the board put the policy in place at the time but that was a while ago.”
One of the other topics of discussion included the district’s maintenance shed.
The board made several references to the report presented by the West Bend School District Private Task Force. One of the findings by the Task Force involved a suggestion to create one central campus.
Construct one new school (783 capacity) at a south side location and expand Green Tree. Close/sell Jackson School, Jackson land, Decorah, Fair Park, District Offices, Rolfs & Maintenance. Develop a single central campus on the south side of West Bend.
Task Force member Kraig Sadownikow said, “As a district there are multiple campuses at wide geographical locations. That means maintaining and monitoring is difficult. This makes operating the district more expensive.”
“Money is the solution to the problem – more money may not be.”
“Finally – the capital maintenance budget is inadequate. It’s underfunded. Can’t consider a new investment in new facilities without considering how to maintain what we currently have. Building new while avoiding maintenance is a losing situation.”
Director of Facilities Dave Ross talked about the maintenance building. “It’s not in bad shape. The replacement cost would be $1.4 million with $176,000 worth of repairs that need to be done.”
Joel Ongert – “Would we be saving a lot of money by closing the shop?”
DR – “We have a full-time custodian and a little maintenance but there’s not a heck of a lot. All office partitions were donated to district. It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money.”
Joel Ongert – “Does it still serve the purpose of protecting our vehicles and doing maintenance in the shed.”
Dave Ross – “Yes. Both functional buildings.”
PF – “If implement the Task Force’s recommendation to consolidate to a single campus you may reduce some level of custodial service but you’re going to need custodial services for the rest of that facility so at the end of the day maybe it’s a net reduction – maybe half or 20 hours a week. It’s marginal, I guess. It’s not that far out of line to be enticing to do the consolidation model.”
The meeting wrapped up with Superintendent Kirkegaard talking about the timing of an upcoming referendum.
“I’d suggest we put to rest that there will be no referendum in April. We need to know that by January. There’s just no way possible we’re ready for a referendum in April. Earliest I could see is November 2020, but we have a lot of work to do before that.”
West Bend Christmas Parade viewed around the world
Chilly temps and some winter white and neighbors dressed in knit hats, boots and blankets lined the street for the annual West Bend Christmas Parade. (note of correction – NOT the 5th annual as said in the video – as WB Parade is one of the oldest in Wis.)
There were 66 entries including floats, bands, decorated vehicles and the entry from West Bend Children’s Theater really stood out. It was worthy of a Macy’s Parade as the Children’s Theater promoted its upcoming play, Seussical The live broadcast was viewed around the world. Below are some of the comments from social media:
Jacalyn (Hansen) Sullivan – Viewed from Sunnybank. Queensland, Australia … love the hometown Christmas parade! Have a blessed Christmas and glorious New Year!
Elaine Bartol · Watching your parade from Elfrida, Arizona! Hi to my families in Wisconsin!
Terry A. Becker · Greetings from the Blue Ridge Judy, thanks for bringing us home once again for Christmas!
Susan Kist – Thanks so much for broadcasting the Christmas Parade as I really wasn’t able to be outside watching it this year. Because of you I didn’t need to miss the 2019 parade. The West Bend Christmas Parade has been a part of my life since the 1950’s when I marched in it as a member of the Grafton High School Band. Many years I marched with my kids. Sometime it was with 4-H, other years with a church float. Other years I just watched it live.
Renee Newton Reese · Greetings from Kent, Ohio
Carol A. Feypel · THANK YOU!!! Carol FEYPEL LOVING IT.
Katie Bastian Singer · Carol A. Feypel so glad you got to watch it from Georgia
Tom Pfotenhauer · Watching from Jekyll Island, GA
Linda Theisen · Watching from Marietta, Georgia. .
Nancy Reisner – I always enjoy everything you cover! That meeting last night was really informative! The parades and everything else is great! I’m pretty much home bound due to the neuromuscular disease I have, so I’m guessing I appreciate your coverage more than anyone. It keeps me connected! Thanks for all you do Judy and have a wonderful Christmas season!
Hat tip to BOSS Realty for allowing us to broadcast from its balcony overlooking Main Street.
This year’s live broadcast will be brought to you by Slesar Glass, 115 N. Sixth Avenue, So Fly Fashion, 125 S. Main Street, West Bend, and Alpha Dog Audio
Here are the parade winners from tonight’s Christmas parade:
Adult: 1st place – West Bend Moose Lodge, 2nd place – West Bend Kettle Trailblazers, 3rd place – Kettle Moraine Bible Church
Youth: 1st place – West Bend Children’s Theatre, 2nd place – Faith United Church of Christ, 3rd place – West Bend Middle School Dance/Guard
Business: 1st place -Auto Safety Center, 2nd place – C&K Services, 3rd place – Meijer
County Supervisor Marilyn Merten files non-candidacy
The paperwork is in and Washington County District 15 Supervisor Marilyn Merten has filed non-candidacy for the April 2020 election.
Merten has served on the Washington County Board for 12 years. A long-time public servant Merten’s career in government started after she graduated high school.
“I worked in the county superintendent’s office and I was there for four years,” she said.
With only a brief pause, Merten said she was on the Civil Service Commission and the Samaritan Home Board of Trustees.
At 81 years old Merten said her decision not to run for County Board is not exactly a signal she’s retiring. “I’m still volunteering and I’m a member emeritus for the Washington County Historical Society Foundation and I’m on the Agricultural Industrial Society Board; I’m up for reelection as a member-at-large,” she said. “I serve on the administrative committee, finance committee …. you’re not totally rid of me.”
Questioned why she filed non-candidacy Merten said it was time. “I put in a lot of years as a public servant and I’ve always done the best I could for the citizens I represented and it’s a time where things are not going the way I normally see them so I really feel I’ve done my duty as a public servant,” she said.
Merten said this was not a difficult decision. “I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” she said. “People have been telling me I really need to run, and I just figured I have to make a decision. I have things with my children and grandchildren I want to spend some time with.”
Merten and her husband had seven children together. She’s grandmother to 11 grandkids. “Only 11,” she said.
Over the years Merten has developed a reputation as a stickler for rules. She’s been dubbed a walking “Robert’s Rules of Order;” she is well versed in parliamentary procedure.
“There are times I challenge what’s going on because I don’t believe it’s correct but if somebody can point out to me that it is, I guess I have to relent,” she said.
Not only was Merten in county government, she also spent 21 years on the Germantown School Board. “I learned a lot from our school attorney and feel I gained a lot of knowledge through those years,” she said.
Merten was elected Washington County Clerk in 1994. She worked with board chairmen such as Reuben Schmahl, Ken Miller, Tom Sackett, Herb Tennies and Don Kriefall.
Questioned whether she thinks the size of the County Board needs to be reduced, Merten said “definitely not.”
“People don’t understand what the County Board does and what it’s supposed to do, and I really believe the number of people representing you on the County Board level is small enough,” she said.
For most of her time on the County Board Merten represented the Town of Polk. After redistricting she extended into the Town of Jackson.
Candidates have until December 27, 2019 by 5 p.m. to file a certificate of non-candidacy if they do not plan to run in April 2020.
Candidates who are running are circulating papers to collect signatures which must be turned in by 5 p.m. on January 7, 2020.
Candidates running for Washington County Board Supervisor must submit 50 -100 signatures and candidates running for County Executive must submit 500 – 1000 signatures.
WBSD Task Force report at Jackson Community Center
Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted an informational meeting Thursday night at the Jackson Community Center as a member of the West Bend School District Public Task Force gave a presentation on its findings.
Owen Robinson spent about an hour outlining details from the Task Force which spent the summer reviewing facilities in the West Bend School District.
Following the presentation Robinson took questions from the audience. There were nearly 20 people in attendance including Village of Jackson administrator John M. Walther.
Questions in Jackson.
Woman in audience read a statement about how the Task Force was made up of all businessmen from West Bend.
Owen Robinson: “I was invited by Kraig Sadownikow and he was looking for people with facilities management. I was invited because I was a vocal opponent and I have some experience in infrastructure in my private life. As far as makeup of the committee he tried to get some who were for and others against.”
Woman: were all the costs factored in including bussing and special education.
OR: “Bussing yes, it would be an extra $180,000 but we talked facilities.”
Man: “I’m opposed to put an elementary school kid on a school bus. A kid feels security being into town. Moving elementary school out of town is a major hit to the community. Moving it outside is not a positive thing.”
OR – “Bussing – we did a lot of thinking about this. Community schools’ matter and there is value in kids walking to school. However, in our modern society fewer kids do that. There are plenty of kids who live .7 miles from school, and they will drive them because it’s safer.
OR – “Hit to Jackson by removing it’s school. There is an economic impact that can’t be ignored. The mission to WBSD is to educate kids and not worry about the economic impact to the Village. Do what we can for education.”
Man – “As you’re looking at operational costs. Totally agree not contracting out teachers but why not outsource administration.”
OR – “I think there is room to outsource administration. You look at payroll or expense management. I don’t think you can outsource superintendent or principal but as far as thing that don’t deal with education it can be evaluated.”
Man in red – “783 capacity and then expanded to 1,000. In terms of dealing with elementary school kids – value is better with smaller numbers. What’s more efficient is developing social skills. They get lost in a crowd. When you say reduce staffing – then what happens with guidance.”
OR – “Rough mockup with possible expansion and out to 1,000 students. Statement is about bigger may not always be better. It’s worth looking at. Looking at construction with pod structure would be like a lot of smaller schools put together. If there’s an opportunity to reducing staffing – you have to be smart about it.”
Man in red – “Parents are dropping kids off – but if you get up to 1,000 then it’s a concern.”
OR – “If we’re faced with decision 10 years from now … we were saying from a facilities long-term planning. You’re trying to stay flexible. We’re trying to make sure it’s well constructed, well maintained and built in a way it can be expanded.”
Woman in stripes – “Would you consider transfer WB students from WB schools; close to Badger and leave Jackson without busing.”
OR – “Look at busing to Jackson instead. We looked at a few options. Didn’t look at how to incorporate Badger or Silverbrook. One option is to close Fair Park or Decorah and we’re at 100% capacity and put those kids elsewhere.”
OR – “We’re at 79% capacity for elementary schools in WB. You could take kids from one school that closed and put them in other schools. I’d take umbrage with “your kids and our kids,” these are all WBSD kids. We’re educating kids from Newburg, to Jackson to towns. Important to approach with all the kids in the district and not your kids and our kids.”
Woman – “I stand corrected. But WB has pushed Jackson into the dark ages. WB is bigger and thinks it has more clout but if we lose our school it’s not good for the village. If your kids get bussed why wouldn’t you want to build new school here and bus WB kids to Jackson.”
OR – “It is an option. We looked at site and sewer and water. Having a Jackson site – you’re talking added busing costs MORE than $180,000 we calculated. How do you best serve with new facilities to more kids? If you do traffic studies, putting it on north side of Jackson that would be fine.
Woman – “The financial numbers you gave won’t exist and how can you say there will be a potential surplus of $2 million. You can’t guarantee the dollar amount.
OR – We did get some actual commercial bids and dropped the amount. We did our best and you have to start somewhere.
Woman – “Your $2 million surplus that’s not a lot.”
OR – “In the context of overall operational budget $2 million is a conservative number. But it is enough of an operational savings.”
Woman – “Money stashed away for Jackson school – what would happen to that money?”
OR – “As far as fund of money we started saving a few years ago. We spent some of that money to date ($750,000) so what’s left would go into the plan to help with school. That’s a school board decision.”
John Walther – “I understand your economics of scale. There are certainly economies of scale and the Village of Jackson is doing the same thing. The Village board has committed $14 million to $16 million for a new village hall and new police station and fire station. We’re talking services and not bodies or children. One of the main reasons the Village board made the commitment was to pave the way for the school district to build a school directly north of here. The Public Works has already moved to a new facility. It was a good-faith effort. A couple prior superintendents were working hard with the village in constructing that school but unfortunately the momentum was lost but the Village is still making the effort for a neighborhood school. I do understand this is facilities driven and this does make sense from that standpoint, but the reality is you’re dealing with small children.”
OR – “We did look at it from a facilities lens and not an educational impact. We did work with Zimmerman and asked them for state-of-the-art to make sure it was right. Part of the thinking is this would be in place for five generations – even if we look at how kids are laid out it will not be the same in 10 years or 50 years. We built an infrastructure that has access to major trunk roads with flexibility to adjust.”
OR – “First point was Village had an eye on new Jackson Elementary and was looking at that for a long time. As a school district we could build a new elementary school, but it’s failed twice. But with facts on declining enrollment and declining budget how do we get the most bang for our buck. We think with this plan we can serve a lot more kids with this money. Does this break a promise, maybe but how could a superintendent three supers ago make this type of promise?”
Walther – “I believe Jackson is one of largest communities without its own school district. If Jackson is removed the WBSD will really get cut.”
OR – “Should Village break off. Jackson can … but it’s a monster process but it can be considered. In the long-term vision of WBSD – it could be reduced in size.. then so be it. If you look at districts around the country that generally speaking – economies of scale could make sense. WB does have a different demographic makeup.”
Woman in blue – “Why kids are enrolling out. Some are very unhappy with the HS. I know enrollment in some districts are getting smaller.”
OR – “Why are kids open enrolling or school choicing out of WBSD. We did not look at that. We looked at enrollment as fact and how do you manage facilities with enrollment projections. One note – if you look at open enrollment going out – it’s virtually static and 69-70 percent were never enrolled in the district. There are some population centers on the edge of district, and it has nothing to do with the district. Religious reasons are separate reasons. The Task Force did not look at that. The enrollment decline – the lions share is a decline in the district period.”
Man – “Why doesn’t Jackson have its own school district.?”
OR – “We had a radical look – Slinger has its own district and Jackson does not. If Jackson wants to look at it that’s a major investment. Or to have a feeder school into the high school. From a WBSD standpoint – I would say the school board needs to approve.”
Man – “Jackson has been treated like an ugly stepchild but what does it take to get the ball rolling – let’s do it.”
OR – I don’t know why it hasn’t looked at it. Being perceived as an ugly stepchild – nobody ever talked about it that way. Our decisions were made by economies of scale. We made facilities discussions that way.
Woman in front – “History nugget. Mr. Wiziarde, former superintendent, was approached about 20 years ago making Jackson its own school district and WB said “no” because they welcome our tax base.”
OR – “Right now the Village and town of Jackson are 18% of tax base in the district. My hope is we start and end with what’s best for most …”
Man – Where is the Task Force report going?
OR – “The school board seems to be evaluating our findings. I was encouraged by other ways to approach the facilities issue. If we’re talking declining enrollment and declining revenue – and just replacing by being reactive. If you’re looking at where the district is and how to serve the most kids if you have X amount of money. The board patted us on the head for a couple things. Recently they were in cycle on consolidating the libraries and looked at the maintenance shed. We were just trying to inject a different view. I will say, as an aside, time is not to be wasted and these buildings are declining so the sooner they start making decisions the better.”
OR – “The Task Force did homework, we’re sharing, and we hope it gave you a different viewpoint. We were nine people in a room trying to figure out a puzzle.”
Woman in stripes– How did you come about Maintenance and Rolfs into new plan.
OR – Maintenance is by VFW on Sand Drive and Rolfs is behind the district office on Fifth Avenue. Just looking at facilities and put in a single campus; it would be easier say when it snows… if you have fewer facilities then there’s more efficiencies.
Woman in Stripes – I’m a victim of consolidated schools when I was a kid I rode the bus and it’s hard on kids and mental health is in a crisis and I don’t want to see Jackson kids get bused to WB and I don’t want WB kids to be bused here.
OR – Neighborhood schools have value and less busing and more walking. We as a district can have more buildings scattered out. It’s a cost factor. The second point – it’s not all about the money – it’s about the kid but we have a limited amount of money. Every dollar we spend on carting around for snowplow will hinder teacher raises. We have to be good fiscal stewards.
Man – if the Village is going to do something, they need to do it now.
OR – “Why wasn’t McLane included in study? It is the second-best school from a facilities perspective. It’s a matter of limited amount of money and you start with the worse problem and work up from there.”
Dave H. – “Has study affected attendance at School Board meeting.
Kurt Rebholz – “No. I would encourage more people to come and voice opinion. Now is time the task force is being reviewed.”
West Bend Police Chief sent notice to families in West Bend School District about threat
West Bend Police Chief Ken Meuler sent a note to parents and students in the West Bend School District regarding a reported threat on social media. Below is his message.
“On November 7, 2019, a 19-year-old female reported to the West Bend Police Department that she saw a message on social media that said on December 2 there would be a shooting at the high school. The message did not specify a high school or city. The woman stated because she lives in West Bend she assumed the message was directed towards one of the West Bend High Schools. The woman did not save the message and West Bend Police investigators were unable to retrieve the message from her phone.
This past week and this weekend, rumors have surfaced regarding this reported message. The West Bend Police interviewed a number of students who stated they heard about this possible social media message. No student stated they saw the message. West Bend Police reached out to a number of law enforcement agencies in Washington County and throughout Wisconsin. No other law enforcement agency received any reports of anyone seeing this message. West Bend Police and West Bend School District officials have also been monitoring social media sites and have not observed any similar messages.
The West Bend Police Department and West Bend School District encourages anyone that sees or hears something that may endanger anyone to immediately report it to police. In regard to this particular reported message, if anyone has previously or more recently seen a message that indicates violence directed at any school on December 2, please call the police department.
West Bend Police and West Bend School District officials have been in contact throughout the weekend. We are in agreement that there is no evidence that this message existed nor that it was directed at any West Bend school. All West Bend schools will be open tomorrow, Monday, December 2. As we do every school day, school liaison officers will be in the schools and officers on patrol will pay special attention to the schools.”
Two candidates in race for Mayor of West Bend
The race is on in West Bend as a second candidate has announced his intentions. District 4 alderman Chris Jenkins notified the constituents in his district of his intentions.
Jenkins is the second candidate to file along with Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten who announced October 17.
Below is Jenkins letter to his constituents.
“Dear Residents of West Bend,
After much consideration, thought and prayer with family, friends, and colleagues, I am announcing today my candidacy for Mayor of West Bend.
I have been actively involved in our community for quite some time. Beginning with a small role in Mayor Sadownikow’s task force, I then moved to the West Bend Library Board. In a matter of months, I was elected President of that Board and for 3 terms lead that department on a path of fiscal sustainability and strategic planning.
From there, I was elected Alderman of District 4 on the West Bend City Council where I currently sit today. In this role, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of our hiring, budgeting, and road planning processes while working with my fellow Aldermen on various policies to move our City forward while maintaining a fiscally sound approach.
In addition to these roles, I sit on the Washington County Board of Supervisors, am President of West Bend Early-Risers Kiwanis, am President of Musical Masquers theater company, as well as sit on various other community boards and committees.
During the day, I work as the Village Administrator for Elmwood Park, WI where I have the responsibilities of Treasurer and Clerk as well.
While my resume is important, it’s likely more important to know what I’ll do as your Mayor:
First, I’ll bring people to the table of all different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions to continue to develop creative solutions for our City. I have proven experience doing that.
Next, we’ll create a new strategic plan with goals for 2020 and forward, aligned with new values, to better budget and track our progress. I have experience doing that as well.
And finally, we cannot squander the strong economic position Mayor Sadownikow has placed us in. We must continue to push ourselves towards less debt, more savings, and more value for our tax dollars.
That’s it, I’ll keep it simple and focused. I look forward to an opportunity to talk between now and the election. Let’s discuss why we love our community and choose for this to be our home to raise our families in. I hope I can earn your support.
Candidates in some races can start circulating papers today, December 1, 2019
Candidates running for Washington County Board, county executive, alderman and mayor can start collecting signatures today, Dec. 1, to get on the April 2020 ballot.
Those signatures must be turned in by 5 p.m. on January 7, 2020.
Candidates running for Washington County Board Supervisor must submit 50 -100 signatures and candidates running for County Executive must submit 500 – 1000 signatures.
Candidates have until December 27, 2019 by 5 p.m. to file a certificate of non-candidacy if they do not plan to run in April 2020.
Candidates running for the city council need to submit 20-40 signatures from people in their district. Mayoral candidates must submit 200-400 signatures to run for office.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 12 Dist. 7 alderman Justice Madl filed papers to run again for West Bend city council.
On Oct. 17, WashingtonCountyInsider.com posted a story about Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten announcing he would run for mayor in the City of West Bend. Click HEREfor the story.
School board candidates do not need to collect signatures.
Two people are currently vying for the newly elected county executive post in Washington County: Joshua Schoemann and Adam Gitter.
It was Sept. 11, 2019 when the Washington County Board voted a second time to switch from a hired county administrator to an elected county executive.
Children Shop with a Cop at Meijer in West Bend | By Amelia Neuwirth
The Meijer parking lot in West Bend was crawling with cops tonight, but there was no crime.
Meijer’s annual Shop with a Cop event, sponsored by Kettle Moraine Lodge 10 Fraternal Order of Police, saw children teaming up with police officers to find the perfect Christmas presents for their families.
Each child had a budget of $30, which was graciously donated by Meijer. Carts were filled with gifts ranging from toys, to candles, to fishing poles.
Children and police officers wore Santa hats, antlers, and giant smiles. This was a special night for shoppers, children, and police officers alike.
Amity Rolfs Nativity taking shape at Holy Angels Parish in West Bend
It was a blustery day Wednesday but some hearty volunteers in the community stepped up to assemble the manger for the popular Amity Rolfs Nativity. It’ll be on display in front of the parish office at Holy Angels Church on Eighth Avenue.
The first thing to be assembled is the manger. Although showing signs of age, the manger was built old school. Heavy cedar boards have stood the test of time. While some beams look like Swiss cheese with numerous holes, the pieces still held enough bite and the manger went together in about an hour.
Coming up next will be the refurbished pieces from the Amity Rolfs Nativity.
Over the past year an anonymous member of the community stripped, mended and painted the 15 pieces in the nativity.
With care of a seasoned and skilled craftsman the Nativity figures will be returned to the manger for another year of celebrating the birth of the Christ child.
The life-size nativity display is a holiday hallmark for West Bend. Originally brought to the community by brothers Tom and Bob Rolfs, the pieces, handmade in Germany, were originally placed in front of the tower of the Amity building on Main Street. The nativity later moved to the front of the Amity Outlet on Highway 33 and in 2007 it was donated to the Downtown West Bend Association. From 2007 until 2014 the nativity was set up in front of Westbury Bank on S. Main Street.
The project was completed silently as a pledge had been made to bring the Rolfs Nativity back to its full glory.
While the craftsman wanted to remain anonymous, his name will be published in this week’s Holy Angels Church bulletin.