MPS Selling Building to Charter Operator Carmen
Deal for Hayes School would be first under state's 2015 surplus schools law.
The former Hayes School will see new life as a charter school. Carmen Schools of Science and Technology is proposing to buy the Milwaukee Public Schools building and convert it into a home for the Stellar Collegiate Academy.
Stellar currently has about 150 students in K4 through third grade, but the school plans to add fourth and fifth grade in the coming years. The move into the Hayes School will accommodate planned growth to 380 students according to a city report.
The elementary school is currently located in the former St. Patrick’s parish school at 1115 S. 7th St. Hayes is located at 2431 S. 10th St., almost two miles south, in the Lincoln Village neighborhood. According to a land sale agreement, Carmen hopes to relocate the school to the Hayes building in September.
The school is chartered by the UW-Milwaukee. Carmen, which operates a network of schools, is chartered by Milwaukee Public Schools.
Carmen took over the operation of Stellar, which was founded in 2016, earlier this year. In addition to Stellar, Carmen operates four schools serving approximately 1,700 students. The charter network operates three high schools, delineated as South, Southwest and Northwest (a combined middle and high school). A stand-alone middle school operates on the south side.
According to a city land disposition report, Carmen will invest approximately $1 million in the property. The building, with 16 classrooms, was assessed at $670,000 by an independent firm. The city, which administers MPS’ properties, will sell the property for $350,000 to Carmen, reflecting deferred maintenance.
The building, built in 1906, has 43,396 square feet of space. It was renovated in 1964 and 1995. The building, designed by the firm of Uehling and Linde, was known as the Fourteenth District School No. 2. and Fifth Avenue School. The school is named after president Rutherford B. Hayes.
Hayes was listed as surplus by MPS in August 2017 and, in compliance with state law, was offered for sale only to other education operators for a two-year period. Carmen submitted a purchase offer on January 18th.
Carmen’s purchase of Hayes, if approved, would be the first school sold to a voucher or charter school operator under the 2015 state surplus schools law.
MPS moved the operating school, now known as Hayes Bilingual School, to 971 W. Windlake Ave. in 2012. The school shares a building with Kosciuszko Montessori School.
Carmen currently shares space with MPS for two of its schools. Carmen South is located within ALBA School. Carmen Southeast is located within Pulaski High School.
The sale is subject to the approval of the Milwaukee Common Council. Proceeds from the sale, minus selling expenses, will be given to MPS.
The city has approved the sale of surplus schools to a handful of charter operators in recent years, including Samuel Morse Middle School, Lloyd Street School and 38th Street School.
The council approved the sale of Carleton Elementary School in 2016 to the national Rocketship school network, but the non-profit has not closed on the purchase of the building according to city records. It opened Rocketship Transformation Prep within a couple miles of the Carleton building.
A number of former schools are also finding new life as housing or other uses. The former Grand Avenue School is slated to become a hotel. The former Garfield Avenue School was recently converted to apartments. Gorman and Co. is redeveloping the former Fifth Street School (now open) and the former William McKinley School as apartments. The former 37th Street School is slated to become apartments. Royal Capital Group is seeking to redevelop the former Phillis Wheatley School as apartments.