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Waukesha School District's $1 million renovations to Waukesha South High School's cafeteria and $323,000 worth of new equipment for the Charles Z. Horwitz Planetarium have both been approved.

Both the school district's finance committee on March 6 and the full school board on March 8 acted on the proposals.

Cafe redux

For the cafeteria, the new estimated cost is $1,119,300 and will be funded through the Fund 50, for food service.

District officials considered the school and funding available to improve a facility that has remain largely unaltered for more than 60 years. (The school cafeteria hasn't been touch since 1956, except for some minor cosmetic enhances and equipment replaces, officials said.)

One of the goals of the remodeling effort is to get students through the lunch line faster so they have time to eat and relax.

A possible second phase of the project was discussed, as well. It would include expanding the cafeteria to increase seating. It would also would include a new construction to the exterior of the building into an existing parking lot.

Planetary views

Also during last week's meetings, the request for an equipment upgrade at the Retzer Nature Center planetarium was unanimously approved.

The Charles Z. Horwitz Planetarium website said the theater is equipped with a variety of specialized visual effects projectors, which can create images of auroras, meteors, eclipses, lighting, rockets, hurtling through space or a journey to the surface of another world.

Board member Kurt O’Bryan said the revised cost is $323,000 and includes $30,000 in pledged contributions. The school district is committing $295,000 which is through the technology, teaching and learning budget.

The upgrade – which includes computers, library programs, resources and other equipment – is expected to be completed by August.

Board member Patrick McCaffery said the new systems will be more in depth than the current system.

"We will be able to do other things with it such as different types of educational programs, not just astronomy," McCaffery said.

Board President Joseph Como added the flexibility offered by the new equipment is fantastic.

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