Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Council Okays St. Augustine’s $30 Million Plan

One of city's fastest-growing schools plans substantial expansion.

By - Nov 6th, 2019 09:56 am
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St. Augustine Prep's second phase (right). Rendering by Korb + Associates Architects.

St. Augustine Prep’s second phase (right). Rendering by Korb + Associates Architects.

One of Milwaukee’s fastest-growing schools is about to undertake a substantial expansion.

The Common Council approved a land sale Tuesday morning associated with the $30 million expansion of the private St. Augustine Preparatory Academy. The non-denominational Christian school is a participant in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

The school, which opened in 2017, will graduate its first class of high school seniors next school year. It currently has over 1,000 students and anticipates adding up to 900 students with the new building.

“We’ve expanded quickly and this new proposal would allow us to accommodate a lot of our waiting list,” said Matt Miller, the school’s chief operating officer, to members of the council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee last week.

When it opened in 2017, school officials estimated that enrollment would ultimately grow to 2,500.

“What do you attribute your rapid growth to?” asked Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II. “The need for better schools,” said Miller. He said the school was focused on making better citizens for Milwaukee through faith, family, academics and athletics. Miller said students attend the school from every zip code in Milwaukee.

The committee unanimously endorsed the deal, but when it was before the full Common Council on Tuesday morning council members Nik Kovac and Cavalier Johnson objected to the sale without speaking on the proposal.

The new building, to be built across W. Harrison Ave. from the existing campus at 2607 S. 5th St., will contain approximately 68,000 square feet of space. It would be built on a series of lots, many of which still contain homes, between S. 5th Pl. and S. 5th St. The school is working with VJS Development Group on land acquisition.

The second building, to be used for K4 through fifth-grade classes, is planned to contain 32 classrooms, a gym and a cafeteria. Korb + Associates Architects is leading the design for the building. The firm also designed St. Augustine’s first building.

Korb principal Kathleen Laird said the school’s design would mirror that of the first building while respecting homes it abuts by topping out at three stories. Parking would be included under the new building.

To accommodate the expansion, the city will sell three vacant lots acquired through property tax foreclosure at 2548, 2552 and 2556 S. 5th Pl. The lots total 8,167 square feet of space and will be sold for $500 each.

The school will be required to make a $20,000 annual payment in lieu of taxes as a condition of the land sale. Department of City Development real estate analyst Yves LaPierre said the amount is similar to one charged to Milwaukee Rescue Mission for its Cross Trainers Academy when it was built on city-owned land.

Gus Ramirez, executive chairman of HUSCO International, donated $40 million towards the $53 million cost of developing the first campus which includes a turf soccer field, Olympic-sized indoor pool and 225,000-square-foot building.

The new building could open as early as 2022.

The school, located on the southern edge of the city’s Lincoln Village neighborhood, is built on the former railroad yard for the North Shore Line which connected Milwaukee and Chicago. The south edge of the site slopes down to the Kinnickinnic River.

Renderings

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3 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Council Okays St. Augustine’s $30 Million Plan”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Wow, good for them! I hope this school is empowering these kids to be great.

  2. Mingus says:

    If the school has 1900 students and is getting $8000 per student in taxpayer money, this school is taking $15,200,000 in taxpayer money to evangelize youth when the family’s church communities choose not to. There are frequent stories in the media about religious schools discriminating against LGBTQ staff, families and their students. If ICE shows up at the school door and wants to look for and take into custody undocumented students, will the school be working with them?

  3. Edward Susterich says:

    I will keep it simple–

    Keep separate government-and-religion.

    (I resent that my tax money is used to support any religion.)

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