Construction plans for Onalaska elementary schools underway - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Construction plans for Onalaska elementary schools underway

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ONALASKA, Wis. (WXOW) – Two of the Onalaska School District's three elementary schools will be under construction come fall, thanks to a $16 million referendum approved by voters.

The planning process is underway for Irving Pertzsch Elementary's new gym.

"The gym was originally constructed in the 1950s and has not been updated since then,” said Principal Todd Antony, pointing outdated tile and basketball hoops designed out of wood and tape.

Just outside the doors will be the new facility. It's twice the size, the ceiling is even higher,and there will be bleachers to seat around 400 people, according to Antony.

The existing gym will then be divided into three classrooms, he added. Those classrooms will house the fifth graders, making more room for the incoming kindergarten class that will now go to their home elementary school instead of the old Kindergarten Center.

"We're adding students and so we are out of space at all of our schools right now,” said Larry Dalton, director of finance for the Onalaska School District.

Dalton said about $2 million of referendum money go to the gym project. Another $14 million will be used to reconstruct Northern Hills Elementary.

"Have you seen the school? There's not really walls in there. It was an open concept school built in the 70s, and so what walls you find in the main part of the building are temporary type walls,” Dalton said.

Plans for the projects are expedited to reach the city council next month. If all goes according to plan, construction starts come September.

The new Irving Pertzsch gym is expected to be open by the 2016-2017 school year.

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