Cristo Rey breaks ground on new $33 million campus

$8 million left to raise

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Cristo Rey Jesuit High School has $8 million left to raise to complete the $33 million fundraising goal for its new campus in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood.

School leaders and about 800 students, families, staff and corporate partners on Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking for the new 100,000-square-foot school at 1818 W. National Ave. It will replace the high school’s current 45,000-square-foot location at 1215 S. 45th St. in West Milwaukee.

Cristo Rey leaders first announced in fall 2017 the school had acquired the 112,699-square-foot former Pick ‘n Save store building on National Avenue with plans to relocate to a more accessible area of the city for students and its corporate partnerships.

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The Pick ‘n Save building has been demolished and the new building’s foundation is expected to be completed this fall. The entire project is slated to be finished by fall 2020.

The Catholic high school, which first opened in 2015, has 398 students enrolled at its West Milwaukee location.

The new building will accommodate its projected ongoing enrollment total of 400 to 500 students.

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The school, part of the national Cristo Rey Network, includes a work-study program in which students work one day a week at one of 75 corporate partners. It’s designed to teach students soft skills that will help them find jobs after they graduate and network in the Milwaukee business community.

“We can’t thank our benefactors enough for ensuring that our vision of building a new school to provide enhanced college-prep academic and extracurricular programming becomes a reality,” said Andy Stith, the school’s president. “We’re excited about the next chapter of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee and we invite potential collaborators to be a part of this incredible initiative to support Milwaukee’s future workforce and positively impact our broader community.”

Features of the new building will include dedicated performing arts and visual arts spaces; regulation-size basketball, soccer and fitness training facilities; a library and media center; additional science labs; spaces for robotics and computer programming; collaborative work and conference spaces; a chapel space for in-school service and private counseling spaces.

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Mike and Lynn Giffhorn and Paul and Paula Eberle are co-chairs of the Ignite. Invest. Impact. Campaign for the high school. Mike Giffhorn was the longtime president of Cubic Designs and Paul Eberle is chief executive of Husch Blackwell. Both currently serve on the Cristo Rey board.

Within a year of launching the campaign, the school raised more than $11 million to fund the start of construction.

“We are deeply humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support, although our work is not done,” Mike Giffhorn said. “We must raise an additional $8 million to complete the funding of this $33 million project and avoid incurring debt.”


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