ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Madison Area Technical College



Information on MATC:  Watertown Campus History


1911:  Watertown Vocation and Adult School created    


1962:  City approved classrooms in “’old” Douglas school (now Lincoln Elementary)


1968:  Madison Area Technical College District created with campus locations in Northern, Eastern, Downtown, and Madison


1977:  New Watertown campus built on West Main Street


2000:  Nursing Expansion


2012:  Capital Referendum Expansion


Watertown Campus Historical Research


The Wisconsin Legislature passed laws in 1911 requiring cities with a population of 5,000 people or more to set up trade schools and school boards to administer them; in 1911 Watertown’s population was 8,829.


The schools had four purposes: to provide continuing education of boys and girls 14-16 who had quit high school, trade school, adult evening education, and related instruction for apprentices.


Primary office of Watertown Vocational and Adult School is within the “old” Watertown High School with classes are being held at High School and various locations throughout Watertown. 




Wisconsin is noted for the quality of its public education system. Wisconsin's public schools and university systems were established in the 1850s.  Wisconsin was the first state in America to open a kindergarten, in Watertown, in 1856.  On national tests, Wisconsin's 432 school districts consistently score much higher than the national average and higher than the average of other Wisconsin's Vocational, Technical, and Adult Education system, comprising 16 districts, each with a main location institute and several outreach centers, trains, retrains, and upgrades the skills of 450,000 Wisconsin citizens for business and industry annually.  The first vocational classes were held in the old Douglas School in Watertown, at Ninth and Dodge streets




   English Language School Class for German-Speaking Immigrants



05 27       The Times is able today, for the first time, to reveal some of the details of the new unit which will serve the Watertown Junior High School, the Watertown Senior High School and the Watertown Vocational and Adult School.  Not only will there be a new unit to the north of the present school, but by the time the work is completed on remodeling and rearranging the present school building that structure will hardly be recognizable.  So many are the changes that are involved in the general overall plans.  The new unit will be two stories high and its exterior will conform pretty generally with the present building, though it will be such that it can be readily set off as a “new school.  A gymnasium-auditorium will be located in the new unit.  It will seat 3,000 persons, have a large stage and a partial balcony.  There will be a spacious lobby in the new unit, with the main lobby entrance at South Ninth and Dodge Streets.    WDT



10 22       William Urban has been elected president of the Watertown Male Chorus for the ensuing year; it was announced today following the annual meeting.  Robert Peterson is vice president, William Schmidt is secretary-treasurer.  The chorus, which is sponsored by the Watertown Vocational and Adult School, meets every Monday evening at 8 o'clock in the chorus room of the new high school addition and there is still time to join the chorus for this year.   WTD



09 14       Another major school problem, which has been in the stage of development for some time and which recently has grown acute, confronts the city administration, notably the members of the common council who will have to find ways of financing it.  If the plan, which was proposed at a special conference last night, is carried through it will mean some $200,000 for a proposed addition to and remodeling of the old Douglas School for use by the Watertown Vocational and Adult School.  Added to that will be another initial $60,000 for an addition of several classrooms at the high school.  WDT



In 1962 Theodore F. Guse, was president of the Watertown Board of Vocational and Adult Education, and Vocational School Director was Glenn L. Johnson


04 21       A renovation program to be undertaken at the old Douglas School to utilize it for classes of the Watertown Vocational and Adult School starting in September is headed for favorable action at tonight’s meeting of the common council.  City aldermen, meeting in committee yesterday afternoon, reacted favorably to the idea and a resolution to get the project started will be ready for introduction at tonight’s council meeting.  WDT


05 02       Alderman James E. Bloor yesterday afternoon urged prompt attention in getting the work of converting the old Douglas School building for vocational school use underway because, he pointed out, the building will have to be ready for its new use in September.  Mr. Bloor made the statement during the common council committee meeting at which Theodore F. Guse, president of the Watertown Board of Vocational and Adult Education, and Vocational School Director Glenn L. Johnson appeared to present cost figures involved in the remodeling program which is necessary to make the school adaptable for vocational use.  WDT


05 02       [same date as previous] The common council at its committee meeting decided to will refer to the Watertown Board of Vocational and Adult Education a petition protesting the plan to remove the high wire fence on the old Douglas School grounds.  WDT




Some day in the future there will be a new vocational school building in Watertown, but when, no one at this time knows.  At last night’s meeting of city council members and others with members of the Vocational Board of District No. 4, it was indicated that some day there’ll be a new building here, but no member of the board, or director, Norman F. Milby, would say when.  The local vocational school now operates in rented facilities at the high school; and also operates in the old Douglas School building.  Some of the board members, and also Milby, commented on the immaculate maintenance of the old Douglas School building.



11 05       $30 million referendum approved to finance construction of new campuses in satellite facilities.


1977       New College opens.



07 02       Mrs. Lynette I. Hertel, 201 North Church Street, Watertown, a member of the staff of Madison Area Technical College-Watertown, has been named area coordinator for the local campus.  Her selection was announced today by Norman P. Mitby, district director, who said she was selected from a list of 51 applicants for the position.  Mrs. Hertel is already working on her new position.  The salary for her one-year contract is $31,361.  She succeeds Miss Eileen Scott who retired earlier this year.  Mrs. Hertel received her bachelor of science degree in 1963 from Stout State University with a major in home economics education and a minor in English, and subsequently received her master of science degree from Stout with a major in guidance and counseling.    WDT



08 25       A rezoning request and some adamant neighborhood opposition stand in the way of a Brookfield man’s plans to convert the old Douglas School building into an apartment complex.  “What we’re proposing is eight very attractive apartments, new housing.  They’re doing the same thing right now with the Kusel building,” said businessman Al Vigil of his plans for 505 Lincoln Street.  “It’s a very attractive building and would be excellent for apartments.  Right now the place is deteriorating.”  The people living around the old school building, however, don’t share Vigil’s optimism.   WDT


09 12       The developers called it an open house, a chance for the neighbors to view sketches and see how a proposed conversion of a schoolhouse will enhance their neighborhood.  At least one of the neighbors thought it was a “propaganda sales pitch.”  “This will not be subsidized housing,” emphasized Al Vigil of Brookfield, who bought the old Douglas School and MATC-Watertown building at 505 Lincoln Street.  “The kind of tenants we want are people in their 50s and older, people who are looking to retire and want a nice place to live.”  Vigil is president of Eagle Marketing Corporation, a group of investors which is also planning a waterfront development project in Hustisford.  The organization also developed the Depot Restaurant in Waukesha and is in the process of opening six steak houses throughout the state.   WDT


10 06       A proposal to convert the old Douglas School to an apartment complex was referred back to the plan commission after the developer said he was working on a plan that he believed would satisfy the project’s opponents.  R.P. White, representing Al Vigil, said the Brookfield investor was developing “a complete change in the type of ownership that he thinks will be acceptable to the entire community.”  Vigil had previously proposed to convert the former school at 505 Lincoln Street to an eight-unit apartment building for the elderly.  The project, Vigil estimated, would cost $300,000, of which $76,000 would be paid through a community block grant loan.   WDT



05 15       James M. Clifford, publisher of the Watertown Daily Times, will receive a Madison Area Technical College Distinguished Service citation at a graduation ceremony Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. at the Dane County Coliseum.  The Distinguished Service citation is awarded to individuals and organizations who have contributed unusual or meritorious service to MATC.  Clifford was nominated for the award by teachers at Madison Area Technical College-Watertown for his support and contributions to the local campus.  Those who nominated Clifford said he and the Daily Times worked hard to continue the nursing program in Watertown when it was in jeopardy of being moved to Madison.  WDT


09 10       With vocational and technical education playing an ever-growing role in the employment picture, and a possible recession on the horizon, the Madison Area Technical College is assessing its future.  That future could include expanding the programs and the classroom space at the MATC-Watertown campus, according to officials of the MATC District.  In Watertown, MATC’s fall enrollment of students taking degree-credit courses increased 19 percent from 479 in 1989 to 574 this year, according to Lynette Hertel, Watertown campus administrator.   WDT



09 10       Enrollments have increased 10 percent this fall at the Watertown campus of the Madison Area Technical College, increasing the pressure on a campus that was already overcrowded.  Campus administrator Lynette Hertel said 660 students enrolled for degree-credit classes in Watertown this fall, a number that is roughly 10 percent higher than last fall.  And, compared to five years ago, enrollments are up 35 percent, or 170 students higher.  “The dramatic increases have been in electronics, mechanical design and business midmanagement (courses),” Hertel said.  “I believe the reason for that is the excellent placement that the students have had after graduating.  They are going out and getting good jobs.”   WDT



04 04       Technical colleges used to have the image of the type of school where students went to learn a trade or a craft.  Students are still learning skills at Watertown Area Technical College-Watertown, but the educational offerings have greatly increased.  Education is changing, and now it’s the teachers who have learned to use a hammer. Instructors rolled up their sleeves, picked up paint brushes, became familiar with carpentry and learned to drywall — all to make it easier for students to learn through advanced technology.  When new microcomputers finally became available for the Watertown campus, instructors showed their commitment to the school.  Although the MATC district came up with $140,000 in borrowed funds for 30 new computers and software at the local campus, little money was available for the renovation needed to accommodate the new equipment.  The new machines doubled the number of existing computers, putting a strain on electrical facilities and needed classrooms.  The 14 older computers which were being used were recycled into the electronics program.   WDT



12 06       Industry and area schools are continually finding new ways to work together to train employees, but Madison Area Technical College-Watertown has gone a step beyond this year.  Third-shift employees of MPI International Inc. Wisconsin Machining Division in Lake Mills are taking classes from instructor Don Wegner from 10:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.  Wegner, who has taught at MATC for 15 years, is a busy man on Wednesdays.  He normally teaches mechanical design classes at MATC from 4 to 10 p.m. but his temporary semester stint at MPI has him teaching in Lake Mills earlier and later.  He teaches two sessions of mechanical design classes at MPI on Wednesdays at 12:20 and 2:05 p.m., drives back to the Watertown campus to teach from 4 to 10 p.m., and then drives back to Lake Mills to teach to give on-site instruction to third shift employees before ending his day after midnight.



Watertown High School and Madison Area Technical College-Watertown are working together to expand library service to students and the community.  The schools have a long history of joint projects — beginning with the formation of the vocational school at the high school in the 1920s.  Beginning Monday MATC students will have access to the library.  “This does not happen in a lot of other places,” said Lynn Hertel, administrator of MATC.



03 08       Madison Area Technical College officials are planning a $930,000 renovation and expansion of its facilities in Watertown.  But, that won’t happen unless the community is able to raise $260,000 in funds to match $670,000 which will be provided through the MATC budget, according to Lynn Hertel, director of the Watertown facility.  Expansion of the Watertown facility has been discussed for several years.  Planning for an addition began in 1993, but the need has become more acute with a recent decision by Maranatha Baptist Bible College to terminate an agreement with MATC under which Maranatha’s facilities have been used for the MATC nursing program.   WDT



01 23       Remodeling of the office area at the Madison Area Technical College was the first step in a construction and remodeling project proposed for the facility at 1300 W. Main St.  During the holiday break, the office area at the technical college was remodeled to move the guidance counselor’s office closer to the main office area and to improve the lighting, according to Lyn Hertel, director of the Watertown facility.  It was the first part of a three-phase project to increase the size and update the facility, Hertel said.  MATC officials are planning a $930,000 renovation and expansion of its facilities here in Watertown.   WDT



07 09       An administrative reorganization is taking place within the Madison Area Technical College regional campuses including Watertown and Fort Atkinson.  MATC officials have been working on the restructuring of the organization over the past year in an effort to expand the economic and workforce development needs within area communities.


The new change includes eliminating the current campus administrator positions and replacing that job with two new positions.  Both campus administrator positions at MATCWatertown campus and MATC-Fort Atkinson campus are being eliminated and replaced with two other positions.  Lynette Hertel, of Watertown, is the current campus administrator in Watertown and Lynn Forseth is the campus administrator in Fort Atkinson.  Replacing the two campus administrator positions will be the Economic and Workforce Development executive director and a campus manager.


Final candidates for the new executive director position include Hertel, Forseth and Caroline Shannon, MATC-Watertown campus adult and continuing education coordinator.


08 16       Lyn Hertel, who served as the regional campus manager for Madison Area Technical College-Watertown, is starting a new position at the college as regional development director for the MATC Foundation.  She will work with the MATC Foundation to expand the successful donor model she created in Watertown to other communities.  In this districtwide role, she will be based at MATC’s main Truax location in Madison and work closely with leaders in the college’s regional communities to develop new opportunities to support MATC through its foundation.   WDT



01 23       Madison Area Technical College President Bettsy Barhorst updated Watertown school board members on how local high school graduates and residents utilize MATC during the board’s regular meeting Thursday night.  A total of 18.9 percent of the 2003 Watertown High School graduating class enrolled in MATC, Barhorst said.  The overall average of graduating high school students throughout the district attending MATC is 21.8 percent.  “We’d like to know why Watertown’s average is down compared to the overall average,” Barhorst said.  “It puzzles me that the averages are lower because you have a campus in your city.  We talk to MATC students throughout the district who would love to have a campus in their city.”



Watertown MATC entrance with flags



Prominent local educator and longtime MATC advocate Lynette Hertel of Watertown has announced she plans to retire effective July 31.  Hertel currently serves as regional development associate director for MATC in Madison.  Hertel said that, among other activities in her retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with her grandchildren.  Originally from Black Earth, Hertel started her professional life as a teacher after her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1963.  She earned her master’s degree from Stout in 1967.  Her first teaching job was in home economics at Fall Creek High School and later at HartlandArrowhead.  She also supervised student teachers while serving as an educator.  Hertel began working in the technical college system at WCTC in Waukesha in 1969.  She was a part-time counselor at the Watertown campus in 1983 and was campus administrator from 1984 to 2006.  Since August of 2006, Hertel has been with the foundation office as regional development associate director.   WDT



08 19       NAME SHORTENED

Area residents who attend Madison Area Technical College-Watertown campus, also known as MATC, may soon be using a new shortened term for the name of the college.  MATC is the well-known nickname for two entirely different technical colleges in southern Wisconsin.  Madison Area Technical College is looking to change their shortened name to end confusion with Milwaukee Area Technical College.  Although many people living in Madison may not hear much about the Milwaukee college, others such as those in the Watertown area may receive information in the mail from both schools.    WDT





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin