BELOIT Schools want all property to be in village

The high school spans the border of Beloit and Smith Township.
BELOIT -- West Branch Superintendent Lou Ramunno expects a smooth annexation of about 75 acres of Smith Township to Beloit.
School officials want all the property encompassing the high school and a structure for kindergarten through eighth-grade pupils to be built nearby to be within the Beloit village limits.
That the high school at 14277 Main St. spans the border of Beloit and Smith Township has never been a problem, and school officials don't want it to become one, Ramunno said.
"We don't have to annex, but we want to," Ramunno said.
With the annexation, the school buildings will sit on about 130 acres in Beloit, he said.
Process has begun: The board has begun the annexation process, and Ramunno doesn't foresee any problems. He has spoken to two of three Smith Township trustees.
"We don't have any real issues or concerns about it," Ramunno said of the annexation. "The board is looking to the future and believes the annexation to be in the best interest of the district and its students."
Ramunno said the township-village border is along the main hallway of the high school. The school has village water and sewer services and is served by Beloit Fire Department and police in Smith and Goshen townships.
If police are needed, one department or the other is called depending on where in the building a situation requiring police assistance occurs, he said.
Police and emergency services' response is never a problem, because all the area departments work together well, Ramunno said.
West Branch High School was built in the 1960s, and Ramunno isn't sure why the building was built over the line.
"It's always been that way," Ramunno said. "Maybe they just weren't aware of it at the time."
Construction of the kindergarten through eighth-grade building will move all junior high and some elementary pupils to the site near the high school, placing about 1,700 of the district's 2,600 pupils in the area, he said.
Elementary pupils at the Knox township and Damascus buildings will remain there, leaving about 450 pupils in each building, Ramunno said.

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