Starbuck Middle School (Racine, Wisconsin)

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Coordinates: 42°42′48″N 87°50′15″W / 42.71325°N 87.83751°W / 42.71325; -87.83751

Starbuck Middle School
Starbuck Middle School, 2011.JPG
General information
TypeMiddle school
Location1516 Ohio Street
Racine, Wisconsin
Construction started1960
OpenedSeptember 5, 1962
OwnerRacine Unified School District
Design and construction
DeveloperRacine Unified School District
Nelsen & Co., general contractor

Starbuck Middle School is a middle school, serving grades six through eight, located at 1516 Ohio Street in Racine, Wisconsin, which opened in 1962. Part of the Racine Unified School District, Starbuck is an IB World school, alongside RUSD's Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, West Ridge Elementary School, and Jerome I. Case High School. As of 2020, Starbuck is also the only middle school in the district to serve exclusively grades six through eight; all others are K–8 or 6–12 schools. Known as Starbuck Junior High School until 1984, the school is surrounded by Ohio Street on the east, Sixteenth Street on the south, Perry Avenue on the west, and Wright Avenue on the north. As of 2019, the school has 662 enrolled students.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

In 1858[2] and 1873,[3] the farm of N. A. Walker comprised the future location of Starbuck Middle School and Westgate Mall Shopping Center. By 1893, Walker's farm was owned by M. George and had been expanded to the south. George's 65-acre property was bounded by what is now Washington Avenue on the north, Ohio Street on the east, the Racine–Sturtevant Trail (formerly the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad) on the south, and Perry Avenue on the west.[4] In 1930, this same area was owned by J. E. Rowland & Sons, a local real estate company.[5]

By 1950, the Racine Board of Education owned two large plots of land outside the city of Racine that were reserved for future school construction, one on the western side of Ohio Street at Sixteenth Street, and the other west of Graceland Cemetery (now the location of Goodland Elementary School).[6] In 1954, with the demographic effects of the "Baby Boom" starting to cause overcrowding in Racine's elementary schools, the Board stated that it was planning building a new junior high school either on the Ohio Street site or next to Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary School, in time for the expected peak of enrollment at junior high schools in 1961.[7] The school board later decided that it needed to build both junior high schools to keep up with enrollment figures. It was noted by members of the Board that the 9.2-acre site they had purchased (comprising roughly the southern half of what is now the school property) was likely too small for the junior high school, so in 1958, it began seeking to purchase an undeveloped area to the north, on the southern end of the property of the Westgate Outdoor Theatre.[8][9]

A scale model of the school in its planning stages in 1959 shows "(1) music, drama, multipurpose room and administration offices; (2) two-story classroom section; (3) cafeteria, and, to the rear, homemaking and art rooms; (4) physical education with graphic arts, electrical and metals classrooms in foreground, and (5) heating plant."[10]

Spiro J. Papas, owner of the theater, initially agreed to sell the plot to the school board on three conditions: "that the school system never object to the use of his property to the north as a theater or for other commercial purposes, make no attempt to have the theater annexed to the city[,] and would re-sell the plot to him at the sale price, if no school were built on the site by the end of 1963. Only the last restriction remained" by the time the sale was finalized on December 8, 1958, when the plot was purchased from Papas for $27,500. In the same meeting, the school board accepted a proposal by Malcolm Williams, an architect at the Warren Holmes Company in Lansing, Michigan, for the design of the building.[11] In March 1959, the school board decided to name the new school after Frank R. Starbuck, longtime publisher of the Racine Journal Times, who had died in 1951.[12] Voters in the nearby Mygatts Corners School and Trautwein School districts opposed efforts in 1959 to expand or renovate their own facilities, in part because the construction of Starbuck signaled that their districts would soon be consolidated with the Racine Board of Education.[13]

On May 9, 1960, the Board of Education awarded $2,227,758 in contracts for Starbuck's construction. Nelsen & Co. was hired as the general contractor, Wenninger Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was hired as the heating contractor, and Magaw Electric Company and Advance Plumbing Company received the other two contracts. The Board had hoped that Starbuck would open in the fall of 1961, to relieve overcrowding at Mitchell and McKinley Junior High schools, but the contractors could not promise that the school would be ready for students earlier than February 1962.[14] Claytex Persian Gray Matte brick was chosen as the interior and exterior material for the building.[15]

An annotated photograph of the Starbuck construction site in December 1960, as seen from the Perry Avenue Water Tower.[16]

During the school's construction in 1961, the Racine Board of Education merged with 24 smaller school districts to form the Racine Unified School District. As the consolidation approached, voters rejected a plan to expand the overcrowded Richards School, in part because some of that overcrowding would be relieved by Starbuck's opening.[17] In the fall of 1961, four classrooms for academically talented children opened in the building during the construction.[18] The first play presented in the new school's theater was a production of The Curious Savage by students from Park High School on May 3 and 4, 1962.[19]

Starbuck, Racine's sixth junior high school, was dedicated in a ceremony on May 27, 1962, followed by public tours of the 136,200 square feet (12,650 m2) building.[20] The first day of classes was September 5, 1962, [21] The school's theater became home to the Racine Children's Theatre, which was able to double its capacity in the larger auditorium.[22]

On April 1, 1976, 220 patients from Westview Nursing Home were evacuated into the school building after the nursing home received an anonymous bomb threat, which was later found to be a hoax.[23] At the start of the 1983–84 school year, Racine Unified moved from a 6–3–3 structure (six years in elementary school, three years in junior high school, three years in senior high school) to a 5–3–4 structure. With this change, Starbuck and the city's other junior high schools went from serving grades seven through nine to serving grades six through eight.[24] The following school year, the district changed the names of its junior high schools to middle schools to reflect the new structure; thus, Starbuck Junior High School became Starbuck Middle School.[25]

After the 2017–18 school year, McKinley Middle School closed so that Walden III Middle and High School could move into its building. McKinley's International Baccalaureate (IB) program was then moved to Starbuck. With McKinley's closure and Gilmore Middle School's merger with Stephen Bull Fine Arts Elementary School, Starbuck also became the district's only three-year middle school.[26] As of December 2019, Racine Unified plans to expand Starbuck into a K–8 school, accommodating elementary school students from Jefferson Lighthouse and West Ridge, which it intends to close.[27]

Principals[edit | edit source]

  • Lloyd N. Johansen, 1962–1967[28]
  • Robert Gomoll, 1967–1969[29]
  • James S. Coles, 1969–1975[30]
  • Larry F. Yarck, 1975–1986[31]
  • Jetha Pinkston Lawson, 1986–1990[32]
  • Stanley Thompson, 1990–1991
  • Judith Mortell, 1991–1995[33]
  • Jeff Rasmussen, 1995–1998[34][35]
  • Doug Clum, 1998–2003[36]
  • Sandra Johannsen Brand, 2003–2012[37]
  • Janet Colvin, 2012–2015[38]
  • Andre Bennett, 2015–2018[39]
  • Ellis Turrentine, Jr., 2018–present[40]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Starbuck Middle School, WISEdash, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
  2. "Redding & Watson's Map of Racine County - 1858", racinecounty.net.
  3. "Map of Racine and Kenosha Counties - 1873", racinecounty.net.
  4. "Map Drawing - East End of Racine County - 1893", racinecounty.net.
  5. "Racine County Map Book - 1930", racinecounty.net.
  6. "Consider School Site on Southwest Side", Racine Journal Times, November 22, 1950, page eight.
  7. "County Eyes Tuition Students' Fate When High Schools Hit Peak in 60's", Racine Journal Times, January 19, 1954, page four.
  8. "School Board Tackles Building Needs", Racine Journal Times, August 20, 1957, page five.
  9. "City School Bill Is Cut by $5,000; Expand Summer Session Curriculum", Racine Journal Times, May 13, 1958, page four.
  10. "Racine's 6th Junior High School", Racine Journal Times, June 7, 1959, front page.
  11. "School Board Defers Budget Cuts Until Year End Surplus Is Known", Racine Journal Times, December 9, 1958, page four.
  12. "New Junior High to Be Named Frank R. Starbuck School", Racine Journal Times, March 10, 1959, front page.
  13. "Pressure for Consolidation", Racine Journal Times, April 2, 1959, page 18.
  14. "Board OK's Contracts for Starbuck School", Racine Journal Times, May 10, 1960, front page.
  15. "Board of Education Proceedings", Racine Journal Times, July 7, 1960, page 36.
  16. [https://www.newspapers.com/clip/44214982/the_journal_times/ "Starbuck School Takes Shape", Racine Journal Times, December 11, 1960, page six.
  17. "District Rejects Plan to Expand Richards School", Racine Journal Times, April 20, 1961, pages one and ten.
  18. "Starbuck", Racine Journal Times, August 20, 1961, section 4, page 11.
  19. "Park Players Slate Comedy at Starbuck", Racine Journal Times, May 2, 1962, page 16A.
  20. "Will Dedicate Starbuck School Today", Racine Journal Times, May 27, 1962, pages 1A and 1D.
  21. "Record 30,472 Report on 1st Day of School", Racine Journal Times, September 5, 1962, page 4A.
  22. Green Dunlap, Beatrice. "Children's Theatre Season to Open", Racine Journal Times, September 30, 1962, page 4B.
  23. Devlin, Sean P. "Citizens respond to Westview plight", Racine Journal Times, April 1, 1976, page 1D.
  24. "School opening dates reported", Racine Journal Times, August 10, 1983, page 4A.
  25. Frahm, Robert A. "McKinley Middle School?", Racine Journal Times, May 3, 1984, front page.
  26. Spoto, Cara. "Big changes for middle schools", Racine Journal Times, April 14, 2017.
  27. Sievers, Caitlin. "Unified recommends closing 9 school buildings, constructing 5 new ones", Racine Journal Times, December 16, 2019.
  28. "Board Appoints Two to School Positions", Racine Journal Times, January 9, 1962, front page.
  29. "Unified Board Names 9 Principals", Racine Journal Times, June 13, 1967, page 5A.
  30. Wilkerson, Jerry. "Starbuck to Have New Principal", Racine Journal Times, August 12, 1969, page 4A.
  31. "Yarck named Starbuck principal", Racine Journal Times, April 15, 1975, front page.
  32. "Principal appointed", Racine Journal Times, July 22, 1986, page 3A.
  33. Buttweiler, Joe. "Unified names five principals", Racine Journal Times, July 9, 1991, page 3A.
  34. Burke, Michael. "Unified fills nine leadership jobs", Racine Journal Times, July 26, 1995, page 1C.
  35. "School positions filled", Racine Journal Times, August 11, 1998, page 3C.
  36. "New school administrators", Racine Journal Times, October 16, 1998, page 3C.
  37. Killackey, Brent. "Case principal 'going home' to Starbuck: Starbuck principal heads to Fine Arts", Racine Journal Times, June 10, 2003.
  38. "Four Racine Unified schools to have new principals", Racine Journal Times, July 16, 2012.
  39. Knapp, Aaron. "New principals named for nine Unified schools", Racine Journal Times, June 27, 2015.
  40. "Principal's Corner", Starbuck Middle School, rusd.org

External links[edit | edit source]