Cristo Rey High School to move to Clarke Square neighborhood

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Cristo Rey Jesuit High School officials announced plans this morning to move the school from its current West Milwaukee location to the former Pick ‘n Save store building in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood on the city’s south side.

Officials said the school has purchased the 112,699-square-foot building at 1818 W. National Avenue, with plans to open the new location to students in fall 2019.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School junior Gissell Vera speaks at the announcement of the school’s new location at 1818 W. National Ave.

The Catholic high school, which first opened in 2015, has 324 students enrolled at its current location, a 45,000-square-foot facility at 1215 S. 45th St. in West Milwaukee. Officials project ongoing enrollment of 500 students, based on current admissions activity.

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The school includes a work-study program, in which students work one day a week at one of 58 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. Some of the school’s corporate partners include Aurora Health Care, Hatch Staffing Services, Northwestern Mutual, Froedtert Health, Marquette University, SHARP Literacy Inc., Godfrey & Kahn S.C., Kohl’s, Rockwell Automation and Harley-Davidson.

The school is part of a national network of 32 Catholic high schools across the country with a similar workforce development program.

Officials said the National Avenue building, which is more than double the size of the school’s current facility, was chosen because of its accessibility to major roads, which will provide easy access to families and students as they travel to their corporate work-study program locations.

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A rendering from Plunkett Raysich Architects of the new Cristo Rey High School at 1818 W. National Ave.

“Back in April of 2014, when we completed our feasibility study as part of the planning process to open Cristo Rey Jesuit in Milwaukee, we anticipated and modeled enrollment growth as we added a new class of students each year,” said Andy Stith, president of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee. “We have exceeded those enrollment projections thanks to tremendous community support for our urban work-study model. The new building will provide the space and amenities needed to continue providing our students with a high-quality education and we’re excited about the next chapter of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee.”

Stith said the school made a $4.5 million investment to acquire the property and expects a total investment of $20 million in the new site.

Milwaukee-based online retailer Wantable Inc. earlier this year pulled the plug on plans to move its headquarters from Walker’s Point to the former Pick ‘n Save store building in Clarke Square. The store was closed by Roundy’s in 2016.

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