Aug Prep plans $42 million expansion to become city’s largest single-campus school

A rendering of the new theater, which will be located on southwest side of new elementary school. It is directly across the street from the current school. (Rendering: Korb + Associates)

Last updated on July 9th, 2021 at 11:41 pm

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy, a private K4-12 school founded by HUSCO International chairman Gus Ramirez and his family, unveiled plans Thursday for a $42 million expansion at its campus on Milwaukee’s south side. 

When the project is completed, Aug Prep would be the largest single-campus school in the city, with capacity to serve 2,400 students, leaders say.

The five-year-old school has been laying the groundwork for a new elementary school building since 2019, when it purchased land adjacent to its existing 225,000-square-foot building at 2607 S. 5th St. for what was envisioned at the time as a $30 million expansion project. 

The school originally opened in 2017 with 560 students, and enrollment has since grown to more than 1,500. 

The expansion will create capacity for 900 students in grades K4-5 and will include a full-sized gymnasium, a small gym, rooftop garden, playground and performing arts center with seating for 800. 

The school will also expand its current space by 11,000 square feet to include additional STEM, music and athletics spaces for middle and high school students. 

“Our teachers, staff and supporters are driven to help our scholars achieve their highest potential and be of service to our community and the world,” said Abby Andrietsch, chief executive officer of Aug Prep. “Central to our work is providing a learning environment that supports personalized instruction for every student. Our facilities are deliberately designed with that in mind, fostering rigorous academics while supporting students’ faith, arts and athletic endeavors.”

About 20% of total project costs, or about $8 million, will come from the community, including an anticipated $5 million in New Market Tax Credits. The school has launched its “Be the Bold” campaign to raise funds for the expansion. Most of the remainder of funds will come from the Ramirez Family Foundation. The Ramirezes contributed $40 million toward the $52 million original school building. 

The expansion is expected to be completed by May 2023. 

Land remediation is expected to begin this summer just north of the current school on West Harrison Avenue between Sixth and Fourth streets, with construction expected to begin in spring 2022. 

Aug Prep has retained VJS as the project contractor and Korb + Associates as the architects. Both firms were involved in the development of the current school building.’

This spring, Aug Prep graduated 77 students in its first senior class. All were accepted to college and over 90% plan to attend a 2- or 4-year college or university, the school said. 

Three-quarters of Aug Prep’s student funding comes from the state’s school choice programs; the remainder comes from community fundraising and supporters, including the Ramirez Family Foundation. 

“Through the work of the Ramirez Family Foundation, everything we do is grounded in our belief in every child’s potential, regardless of their race or socioeconomic status,” said Gus Ramirez, who is also board chair of Aug Prep. “However, for us to achieve our bold ambitions for Aug Prep requires the shared commitment and investment of others. Every dollar raised through the Be the Bold campaign will support our expansion and goal to have the capacity to educate 2,400 students a year by 2025.”

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