Wicks Construction, Inc. gives former North Winn School building new purpose

By Zach Jensen,

Wicks Construction, Inc. bought what’s left of the North Winneshiek School building for $460,000 in 2022 with one purpose in mind: To provide housing for an invaluable team of Hispanic migrant workers, who come to Decorah each year on work visas — specifically to work for Wicks Construction.

That goal became a reality Feb. 6, when the Winneshiek County Board of Adjustment approved Wicks Construction’s request. 

But, the decision faced some challenge and scrutiny from a nearby neighbor. Wayne Hageman spoke against the proposal during the board’s Jan. 2 meeting. At that meeting, no representatives of Wicks Construction were present to answer Hageman’s concerns, so the application for the conditional use permit was unanimously denied. 

Hageman also attended the Feb. 6 public hearing on the issue, but this time, so did representatives Gavin Wicks and Patrick McDermott of Wicks Construction.

“Currently, we provide housing in other locations, and we’d like to be able to utilize this space for that purpose,” Wicks said. “We don’t plan on utilizing it for short-term rentals. This will only be for
employees of Wicks Construction.”

Wicks said the company already has similar employee accommodations in Ridgeway and Freeport, and nobody has ever had problems with the employees who reside in those dwellings.

The board of adjustment unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Wicks Construction to use the former school building to provide housing for company employees for the next 20 years.

Full article in the February 15 Decorah Public Opinion Newspaper.

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