La Crosse School District moving forward to purchase the Brickhouse bar

The School District of La Crosse is moving ahead with its plans to expand into the downtown area by purchasing a downtown bar.

The Board of Education Monday night gave school administrators the go-ahead to move towards buying the Brickhouse on 5th Avenue. The location would be used for the La Crosse Design Institute and 7 Rivers High Schools and as a way to better connect with the downtown area.

The District plans on using money from the capital maintenance funds to buy the building, which are already a part of the District’s budget.

The next step is to create a timeline and set a date to make the actual purchase.

“Then, after that, actually begin in the acquisition of the building, begin to do the work to the exterior and inside of the building that we can to make sure that it’s ready for school,” said School District of La Crosse Superintendent Randy Nelson.

Since the School District would be acquiring the property it would no longer be a part of the city’s tax base, which means the city would lose out on about $10,000 per year. The building has only been a part of the tax base for about 3 years though. Before that it housed the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a nonprofit. And the District believes it’s made enough positive changes in the community to offset that cost.

“Our board also, just a few years ago, also made sure that our Roosevelt school was sold in such a way that it could add to the tax base. Currently, that particular facility is producing about $50,000 a year in tax base.”

The District Superintendent also says the charter schools combining into one property in the downtown area will expand the learning opportunities for students.

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