LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – The La Crosse School District broke ground for the new north side elementary school Friday.
Each dig that school board members, politicians, students and contractors made represented more than 10 years of planning for the new school.
"I'm excited for what the future holds for this school. I'm excited for what the future holds for the school district of La Crosse," said Superintendent Randy Nelson.
The new elementary school will combine the Franklin, Roosevelt, and Coulee Montessori Charter Schools on the Franklin site.
According to 6th graders who graduated Franklin, the most recent Franklin building was constructed for about $429,000.
The new project has a $15.7 million price tag.
The two-story brick building will reference the north side's past. The entrances will be named after Franklin, Roosevelt and Jefferson – a north side school that closed back in 2005.
Even the contractors for the project, Fowler & Hammer, are local.
"Our company has been a north side resident for over 40 years," said Sue Christopherson, president of Fowler & Hammer. "Even when we bid it, we hit it hard," she added.
For some alumni, the project is bitter sweet.
"At first I was like, ‘Ugh, I'm taking down my school.' And then I'm like, ‘You know what? It's only going to get better. It's only going to better for the north side and for my kids," said Dawn Comeau, a student back in the late 1970s. One of her children will enter fourth grade in the new school.
"When a school is able to offer optimum programming for children, that's gonna bring in our families to this neighborhood," said Principal Laura Huber.
Huber hopes the new school leads to revitalization in neighborhood; one of many advancements the school hopes to build from the ground up.
Design plans have been finalized but there is still no official name for the north side school, Huber said, adding the school board will be taking the issue up throughout the year.
The new north side elementary school will be ready by the 2014-2015 school year.
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