La Crosse elementary school students in new building

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Students across the state headed back to school Tuesday, but some students in one district had another kind of first.

A new school year also means a new building for some students in the La Crosse School District. Superintendent Randy Nelson said it's exciting.

“The school is just a building until you get the children in it, then it becomes a school,” said Nelson.

A flag raising ceremony was held to celebrate the new Northside Elementary School in La Crosse, which has students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. Students at Coulee Montessori are also in the building.

“I think it's pretty cool. It's fun to have new school here,” said Coulee Montessori 3rd grader Liberty Sprain.

One feature of the new building is these small group learning spaces, which allow for more individualized learning. The building is also geothermal and has an outdoor learning space for environmental education.

“They put a lot of hard work into it, and it's so beautiful on the inside, and I think the it's are going to love it,” said parent Kelsey Allie.

“I think it's awesome. I was around when the old one was here, and this is like spectacular,” said great-grandparent Helen Ward.

Northside Elementary used to have two campuses. Principal Laura Huber said she thinks it will be easier for families now that students will be in one building.

“One of the things that we really value at Northside and Coulee Montessori is parent involvement, and having parents and families having to straddle two campuses made that a challenge,” said Huber.

Voters passed a $15.7 million dollar referendum in the fall of 2012 for the new school.

There will be an open house at Northside Elementary on Thursday, September 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. Tours will also be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

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