Wisconsin News

Plans moving forward for Roosevelt school building

Community still has a chance to weigh in

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - La Crosse residents will soon have a good idea about who will be the new owners of the old Roosevelt Elementary School.

Since June, the La Crosse School District has been accepting proposals from development companies and said they have finally found one they think best fits the community.

On Aug. 18, La Crosse School District Superintendent Randy Nelson will recommend selling the elementary school to Gorman and Company.

Nelson said the Oregon, Wisconsin based company has a lot of experience building in La Crosse. The same company designed the Gund Brewery Lofts and Grand River Station downtown.

Plus, Nelson said the company is willing to meet with the Roosevelt area residents to make sure they have a say in what happens to the elementary school.

Geoffrey Alford has lived across the street from Roosevelt Elementary School for 38 years.

"My oldest son was born here the week after we moved in so it's easy for me to remember that, he's 38," said Alford.

Alford is the proud father of eight children and most of them attended Roosevelt Elementary.

"Several of them started out in grade school over at Roosevelt and even at preschool there," said Alford.

However, none of Alford's grandchildren will follow in their parent's footsteps.

"I know it's no longer going to be used as a school," said Alford.

The La Crosse School District is in the process of selling the 2.8 acres of land the Roosevelt Elementary School sits on.

"We are at a stage in the process where we are really working to start engaging more," said Nelson.

After receiving public input, plenty of proposals and conducting interviews with developers, Nelson believes Gorman and Company is the best fit for the job because they will keep the residents in mind.

"Really specializing a lot with talking to the neighbors in the neighborhood and trying to do everything that they can to create a proposal that is going to add value to the neighbors and neighborhood," said Nelson.

Some would like to see Elderly housing; others would like to see a community center. Either would be fine with Alford who just wants to make sure the property will benefit the entire community.

"There's a lot of neighborhood children, adults with little children over on the playground equipment," said Alford.  "I know my wife and I both feel it would be nice to maintain something like that so there would be some community use for that."

If the school board decides to move forward on the recommendation, the developer will begin meeting with the Roosevelt community right away in hopes of creating a permanent plan by the end of Oct.

If the school board likes the final proposal, Gorman and Company will be allowed to purchase the property.

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