LA CROSSE, WI -

A small group gathered on Kane Street to watch as the old Franklin Elementary School building on La Crosse's North Side started to come down Wednesday morning.

The School District of La Crosse's first new school in more than 20 years will be built on the grounds. It will be an 80,000 square foot elementary school.

Voters approved a nearly $16 million referendum in November for the new school. It will allow the district to combine two campuses, Franklin and the old Roosevelt Elementary School.

"This is another exciting step in our process," School District of La Crosse Superintendent Randy Nelson said in a statement. "I truly believe that this new school will be an opportunity for rejuvination and new growth on the north side of La Crosse."

School district leaders hope to have the new Northside School open for the 2014-15 school year.