La Crosse School District to shuffle buildings for elementary school overcrowding

District would purchase former TCI building for about $2.25 million

Northside Elementary School in La Crosse has only been open for two years, but it already has issues with overcrowding.

The La Crosse School District is looking for ways to relieve some of that pressure by moving some students into a new building.

Superintendent Randy Nelson said Northside Elementary School was about 80 students below capacity when it opened, now it’s about 20 students over capacity, with a waiting line.

Northside Elementary students share the building with the Coulee Montessori Elementary School, but that might not be for much longer.

When the school year begins again this fall, Coulee Montessori parents may be picking up their kids at the current Hogan Administrative Center, instead of Northside Elementary, but most said they’re OK with that.

“It’s more centrally located, it’s closer to my home, my kids would be able to walk and bike to school, and we’d be in one building and it would be the Coulee Montessori building,” Charity Lott said.

The school district believes moving the roughly 140 students enrolled at Coulee Montessori would solve the issue of overcrowding at the Northside school.

“We’ve got some cases where we’ve got some classrooms that are designed for one thing, but we’re having to use them for another,” Nelson said.

Mother of three Coulee Montessori students, Danielle Sprain, said by having its own building, Coulee Montessori would be able to grow, and possibly have all its elementary students together again under one roof.

“The concept also of moving the sixth grade back with the fourth and fifth grade is the true Montessori model. Right now the sixth grade is with the seventh and eightth grade at Lincoln,” Sprain said.

If the move to Hogan is approved, the district plans to pay about $2.25 million and move its administration offices to the former TCI Architects building along Highway 16.

“We can address the inevitable issue of, “Where is administration going to go someday? “We can address it without having to ask for additional money in a referendum,” Nelson said.

Sprain said the downfall to this move, leaving a brand new building for one that needs a little TLC.

“There’s so many things that we would lose and that we want, that we love, about the Northside school and we value. If we can get that at Hogan throughout the years that we would be there, then it’s worth taking that move, it’s worth taking that chance,” Sprain said.

The 7 Rivers Community High School is currently housed in the Hogan building, and if this move takes place it would be moved to Central High School.

Nelson said the district has cut off open enrollment and boundary exemptions into Northside Elementary and Coulee Montessori until overcrowding issue is resolved.

Money to purchase the former TCI building would come from the school board’s savings account.

No official decision has been made to move the schools around. Nelson said a decision will be made soon though because the work would need to take place over the summer and be ready for school to begin in the fall.