On Wisconsin: Mount Horeb school referendums aim to preserve history, serve current students

Barry Adams

A glimpse of how students were educated here in the late 1800s is located under the downtown water tower, just a half block off Main Street.
But there is another historic school in this village of 6,500 people that’s getting more attention than the cream-colored brick District 1 School built between 1884 and 1889.
On Nov. 2, Mount Horeb School District voters will decide whether to spend $9.9 million to remodel the Primary Center, a three-level school building opened in 1918 with a maze of steps and two gigantic boilers. A second referendum question asks for $600,000 for a geothermal heating system.
The building has served generations of students and all grade levels. It was the high school before the current one was built in the 1960s and where Kurt Nowka, a 1977 Mount Horeb High School graduate, went to middle school. The brick building, which looks similar to West and East high schools in Madison, now is used by second- and third-grade students.