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St. Rose Convent announces $22 million in accessibility improvements



For 140 years, the Franciscan Sisters in La Crosse have conducted perpetual adoration in their chapel at the St. Rose Convent.

The building where the adoration takes place has changed significantly in a century-and-a-half, and it’s about to go through more changes over the next two years.

In the decades since Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, many old buildings in the U.S. have had to be remodeled to make them more accessible.

That’s now the case with the St. Rose Convent — one of La Crosse’s oldest landmarks.

Starting in March, The Franciscan Sisters plan to spend $22-million on a renovation project that will begin at the chapel and convent.

“The main project, or the main purpose for this renovation, is to enhance our availability for our accessibility for people of all abilities,” Sister Sue Ernster, chair of the convent renovation committee at St. Rose, said.

Ernster said the median age for nuns at the convent is around 80.

The two-year renovation will be the first major construction project at St. Rose since the 1990s, but the original building has been added on to five times since it opened in 1871.

“Primarily, a modernization of our interior space, because we’re going to be adding accessibility to the courtyard,” Ernster said, adding the 701 entrance will be getting an elevator.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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