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UW-RF/School District Set To Initiate Land Swap

November 30, 1998

Voter approval of a referendum to build a new high school on Dec. 8 will launch an initiative by the River Falls School District and UW-River Falls to swap land for the new facility.

Discussions between the District and University have been on-going for more than a year to swap UW-RF's holding south of Cemetery Road for a portion of the district's acreage in Mann Valley.

According to Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau, the land swap makes sense for the University in many ways.

"The University wants to be a good neighbor to the residents of the school district. The land trade would be in the best interests of both," he said.

He added, "We are willing to proceed aggressively following passage of the referendum."

The district's acreage south of County Highway MM across from the University's Mann Valley Farm would be used as cropland to support UW-RF's planned $2.8 million Dairy Teaching Center north of the county highway. State funding approval is expected for the new center with adoption of the state budget in July.

According to Thibodeau, a land swap requires approval by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents and the State Building Commission. "Those are the typical procedural steps to finalize transactions such as this," he said. Approval could occur as soon as February, he said.

School Superintendent Sarah Smith said she is aware of the state's procedures for the swap.

She said the River Falls School District would call a special meeting of district electors to approve the land exchange and to make sure the land that is swapped is of equal value.

"The School District has enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the University for many years," Smith said. "A land exchange is just one more example of the potential for the community when the two organizations work together."

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