Cristo Rey celebrates opening of new $33 million high school campus

Cristo Rey's 100,000-square-foot Clarke Square campus.

Last updated on September 17th, 2021 at 11:40 am

Students, leaders and supporters gathered Wednesday to celebrate the opening of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s new $33 million building in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood.

The 100,000-square-foot building at 1818 W. National Ave. replaces the high school’s former 45,000-square-foot location at 1215 S. 45th St. in West Milwaukee.

The new school is part of Cristo Rey’s long-term strategic plan and provides several new opportunities for students, including dedicated spaces for performing arts and visual arts, a regulation-size basketball, soccer and fitness training facilities, additional parking, a library and media center, additional science labs, spaces for robotics and computer programming, collaborative work and conference spaces for staff and board, chapel space for in-school service and private social, emotional and college counseling spaces.

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

“Our students, families, faculty, staff have repeatedly shown they deserve the best, and this space gives them just that. We are grateful and honored by our new home,” said Luke Harrison, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee principal.

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.

CG Schmidt was the construction manager, and Bray Architects was the project architect. The project was financed through fundraising efforts and New Market Tax Credits.

“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 has become a reality,” said Andy Stith, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee president.

Cristo Rey received its occupancy permit for the new building in the summer of 2020, but the school began the 2020-’21 year with virtual instruction and then progressed to in-person learning with small groups of students.

The Catholic school, part of the national Cristo Rey Network, includes a work-study program in which students work one day a week at one of about 60 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.

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Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits and education for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism. In her free time, Lauren enjoys hiking, kayaking, and seeing live music.

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