A building that's been vacant of students for about three decades will be home to about 40 of them this fall. The Hogan Administrative Center will house the first-ever charter high school in the La Crosse School District.
Seven Rivers Community High School was originally supposed to set up within the Logan High School. But Monday night, the La Crosse School Board voted to move the school to the Hogan Administrative Center. It's a non-traditional classroom for a non-traditional type of learning.
When looking for a space to host the first charter high school in the La Crosse School District, advisers said it has to mesh with its unique project-based learning curriculum.
"You put students in the driver seat where they are owning their education, they are creating projects that we like to say would live outside of the walls of these schools,” said Matt Weege, an adviser for Seven Rivers Community High School.
It’s a place where students can step out of the traditional classroom setting and into a room without any conventional walls.
"We are envisioning a very flexible space. It won't be desks and rows, it will be collaborative spaces where things are on wheels and movable so you can create your different learning environments as needed,” said Weege.
It’s a place where students have the opportunity to job shadow and create professional relationships.
"We have all the professionals here at Hogan so we can tap into their great knowledge and resources to help our students make those connections outside the classroom,” said Keachen Abing, an adviser for Seven Rivers Community High School.
And finally, it’s a place for students to grow in their own individual way.
"It's by no means a replacement for either of our high schools, because they are great facilities and we were both teachers at both of them, we just see this as an exciting opportunity for students to have different way of learning,” said Weege.
"We have these great middle school options and many of those students were just seeking another option at the high school level,” said Abing.
With all of these goals in mind, the advisers believe they've found the perfect space: the gymnasium at the Hogan Administrative Center.
"We do not have plans to invade any other space, the integrity of Hogan Administrative building is still a professional work environment,” said Weege.
The space hasn't been occupied by students since 1980, but many say it's a welcome change.
"We've heard from several different people how they are exciting to hear the pitter-patter of feet in the building once again of the students,” said Weege.
The advisers are in the process of writing the implementation grant which is due April 15. After that, they will go ahead with the student application process. Applications are due April 30 and then there will be a series of meetings with students and families to make sure this project-based learning is right for them.
The charter high school option is available to ninth and tenth graders this fall.