After nearly 20 years students will fill Richland Co. schoolhouse

Published: Sep. 3, 2023 at 5:44 PM CDT
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ROCKBRIDGE, Wis. (WMTV) - For nearly two decades, a Richland County elementary schoolhouse has sat unoccupied, until this fall.

The former ‘Rockbridge Elementary School’ will now be called the ‘Bethlehem Lutheran Academy.’ The school was closed in 2004, but with the approval of the district, the building was bought and restored and will once again provide early education.

Pastor Daniel Lewig was looking for a property to house his congregation and the childcare services he and his wife founded over the years.

“The building had been well-maintained by the district, and so what we needed to do was just give it a facelift and tailor it to an elementary school to tailor it for littles,’ Pastor Lewig said.

The newly established Bethlehem Lutheran Academy will offer 2-K, 3-K, and 4-K programs this fall.

“A lot of our parents know the history of that because we have multiple families that they went to school there themselves and so now they’re able to send their kids here,” he said.

Julie Hager and her family moved to the Richland Center area just over three months ago.

“With our three kids we had the experience of being in more urban areas like Green Bay and we were in Sauk for a while, we had help from grandparents and now moving out here there weren’t as many options,” she added.

With limited options in the area, the new academy is providing relief for families.

“I was planning on home schooling actually,” Brooke De Anda said. “I didn’t quite feel comfortable sending them to a public school and I didn’t care for a lot of the options around here, so I was just planning on keeping them home for pre-school and so having the facility here has been really nice.”

The facility also providing a story to tell.

“It is rare for something to come back in. and for this to be gone from the district for 20 years, two decades, 20 years, and now coming back into the district, that just doesn’t happen,” Pastor Lewig said. “The beauty of this area and bringing it back... if you had a picture in the dictionary of what a country school looks like, I think this fits it. The beauty of the limestone and hillside behind us within it, the classic country school.”

For more information on Bethlehem Lutheran Academy, visit

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