School District of La Crosse to buy bar, turn it into a school

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The chatter of patrons and music that have filled the Brickhouse in La Crosse, will soon be filled with the voices of school children instead.

"Last night our board of education, after actually several weeks of consideration and discussion, actually gave a green light for administration to complete the purchase of the property called the Brickhouse in downtown La Crosse," said La Crosse School District Superintendent Randy Nelson.

The bar and music venue recently announced it will hold its last concert in April.

When the School District of La Crosse found out the property was up for sale, they say it was all about the location.

"I think it's been maybe 50 to 60 years since the School District of La Crosse has had a presence downtown and I just think that it's really important for our school district, a strong school district with outstanding schools, to have a presence in downtown La Crosse," said Nelson.

As for the plans, the district will move both the La Crosse Design Institute and 7 Rivers High School, two charter schools, into the building.

For several years the School District of La Crosse has wanted to combine LDI and 7 Rivers, and they say when the Brickhouse went on sale it was a perfect opportunity.

"The practice that really brings these two organizations together, these charter schools together, is project-based learning that's what they both do," said Nelson. "And so it makes sense that these come together in the same way and it also will help, I think, in the future so that students who are in the 6, 7, 8 program at LDI might continue on into the 9, 10, 11, 12 program at 7 Rivers."

Nelson says at this point, all that remains is 'crossing the t's and dotting the i's' for the purchase to be final.

The district will begin renovating the building for its around 100 students after the Brickhouse closes in April.

Officials hope to have classes in session at the new school in September.