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Lincoln Middle School students draw new plans for their La Crosse building, in annual design project

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For over a decade, seventh graders at Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse have gotten a chance to become building designers for a class project, with guidance from City Hall.

On Wednesday, this year’s student designers presented their ideas for remodeling a well-known building in the city.

Lincoln Middle School students in La Crosse present building designs of their own school for a yearly class project on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022 (PHOTO: Brad Williams).

Six designs for a renovated Lincoln Middle School were presented, concluding a yearly project introducing kids to city planning. The design teams drew up plans for community shelters, apartments, a mall and a movie theater complex.

Lewis Kuhlman, an environmental planner for the city, supervised the students on the project. He said, compared to other properties the students have been asked to work on, the Lincoln block is relatively small.

“We’ve had projects that were maybe like, four, five, six or more blocks,” Kuhlman said. “It was a real challenge to figure out all those uses on the same site.”

The city plan office keeps the student designs on file after the classroom project ends.

Lincoln social studies teacher Scott Bagniefski leads the yearly project. He said the students appreciate the chance to put their own creative ideas on paper.

“We all want a voice in issues, especially 12, 13, 14 year olds (who) sometimes feel their opinions don’t matter, and this is a chance for them to speak up and give their ideas and give input and have a real authentic voice,” Bagniefski said.

In previous years, Lincoln students have proposed new uses for Trane Plant 6 site near the La Crosse Menards, where new apartments have been built and for the vacant K-Mart, on the south side.

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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