LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Logan Middle School 7th graders created plans for over 41 acres of land of Trane Technology building 17. Out of the 15 groups, 4 of them received the top award and presented their plans to La Crosse City Planners.

Oliver Kract explains, “We’ve been working on this project for about a month. And it’s to see what the younger community and the younger kids in the community would like to see go in the Trane Building. Just get to input from the younger kids on the stuff that will be built by the time they’re probably in college.”

Kract says the project helped he and his classmates work as a group to complete a task, “We came up with ideas and we sort of just voted on them. And then if the majority wanted one thing, we would go with that. The majority wanted apartments in that building, so we went with apartments.”

La Crosse Environmental Planner, Lewis Kuhlman, says it is very important to have more students interested in the planning field, “We as planners really want to encourage future generations of planners and encourage more diversity in the planning field. Our department at the city of La Crosse is pretty good. We have a good mix of men and women, but we also need more different nationalities and different backgrounds.”

Kuhlman says that he hopes the students who worked on this project, will continue to keep interest in these studies as they get older, “Hopefully, getting kids interested early, so when they’re in college and pursuing degrees in like public policy or urban studies, this is a field they’re looking at. So, we can get more perspective because the more perspective we have, the better our plans end up being.”

Area planners initiated this curriculum, now in its 13th year, for National Community Planning Month.

As for the property the project was based on, Trane listed the property in January 2023. The building was completed in 1968 and hosted administrative and office jobs for the company.