Little Red Nature Campus plans put on hold - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Little Red Nature Campus plans put on hold

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Eau Claire (WQOW)
- Plans for the Little Red Nature Campus are postponed at least one year.

The plan is to turn the long-empty Little Red School into an environmental charter school, but instead of applying for grant money and approval this year, documents from Initiatives for New Directions in Education show they'd apply in early 2019.

That would move the opening date to fall 2020. 

School board member Joe Luginbill said the delay is so the group has more time to plan, solidify its grant proposal and raise money. 

For the next 12 months, the group will work with the district to come up with the plans. 

Posted December 2017
Eau Claire (WQOW)
- The Little Red School is one stop closer to opening again -- with a new purpose.

At its meeting Monday, the Eau Claire School Board voted to support a proposal to turn the closed school into the "Little Red Nature Campus".

Under the plan, the school would be transformed into a middle school and nature site. Those behind the proposal said they wanted students to learn and get a feel for nature, all in the same building. 

The Eau Claire Area School District told News 18 the school would need some infrastructure updates, as it has been closed for nearly a decade. Early estimates put the cost to get the school up and running between $2 million and $3 million. Organizers will now apply for federal grants to cover at least some of the costs of the renovations.

Eau Claire County (WQOW) - After sitting empty for nearly 10 years, Eau Claire parents are hoping to see the doors of Little Red School reopen again.

On Monday night, eight parents are presenting a proposal to the Eau Claire Area School District School Board with high hopes to turn the Little Red School into what they're calling "The Little Red Nature Campus." 

If the school board goes through with the idea, the concept would turn the old school into a middle school and a nature campus. In the proposal, the parents noted that the school would be eligible to be a learning center for up to 150 students. Admission would be selected by a random lottery, which means any child entering middle school in the Eau Claire Area School District could apply.

According to the parents' vision, students would learn and get a feel for the natural world all in one building. The curriculum would be created with an array of different opportunities in multiple languages, wilderness expeditions and learning achievements with outdoor projects.

Superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Hardebeck told News 18 on Monday, she's eager to see what the parents propose at the school board meeting.

"It's going to be very interesting to hear the proposal in full," Hardebeck said. "I understand they're a group of parents that are coming to speak about their interest in having the nature center and having a different middle school model. It will be the first time the board has heard it. So, I'll be listening to the board's questions as well as their presentation."

According to Hardebeck, the Little Red School currently has five classrooms, and she said the school will need infrastructure updates.

The school sits on 36 acres of land and has remained closed since 2008, just eight years after a $2.1 million dollar renovation and expansion of the school.

Monday's meeting is only a listening session, meaning no action will be taken.

The Little Red School is located on Highway 37 in the Town of Brunswick.

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