KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- When the principal of Park Community Charter School in Kaukauna meets with parents, he says he explains that the building's bones are old, but everything else is new.
Ken Kortens has been principal at Park since it became a public, place-based charter school in 2011. But before then, the 125-year-old building had quite a history.
Built in 1897, Park was the Kaukauna Area School District's high school before River View High School -- now River View Middle School -- was built in the early 1920s.
"When it was built, it was the high school for the district. They actually played basketball up in the attic," explained Kortens. "It's been a high school for a while and then it's been a K-8 building, and then in 2011, it became a charter school."
Kortens says the district has been supportive of maintaining the school and keeping it as an important part of the district. That's involved a number of renovations to ensure the old building remains up to date.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, Park was originally built for $28,000. The district continues to invest in the old building because of the value it brings to the community.
Kortens says the school enriches students and the city with its community-based learning. Park's central location allows its students to easily connect with partners like 1,000 Islands Environmental Center, the Grignon Mansion and Kaukauna Utilities just to name a few.
Another anniversary is on the horizon for the Kaukauna school district, as River View celebrates 100 years next month.
The current Kaukauna High School, built in 1999, has quite a while before it celebrates such a milestone.