Kellogg PEAK Initiative opens new $5 million program center in Midtown

The PEAK Initiative Program Center at 2480 W. Cherry St. (Photo: CG Schmidt)

The Kellogg PEAK Initiative recently completed a $5 million renovation and expansion of the nonprofit organization’s program center in Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood.

PEAK, which for years has operated out of the county-owned facility at Tiefenthaler Park, announced last summer its plan to renovate the facility while also improving amenities and safety features to revitalize the surrounding park.

Organization staff moved into the newly completed, 15,000-square-foot program center at 2480 W. Cherry St. earlier this month, and the facility will begin hosting students for day camp next week. The facility includes a large, multipurpose space, meeting rooms, mindfulness space, an outdoor classroom, a Makerspace area, a kitchen, a wellness room, and office space for full-time staff.

“Our young people need and deserve an incredible space that matches their worth, and our goal for this project from the beginning has been to make Tiefenthaler the most vibrant park and program space in the city,” said Dan Schiller, executive director of PEAK. “We are all excited to open the doors of the PEAK program center to the community and its next generation of leaders.”

The organization has operated out of the park structure, which it leases from the county, since 2009, and over the years had to rent out additional space at a nearby Salvation Army building and the Penfield Montessori Academy.

Now, PEAK is able to host all of its Milwaukee programming from the central location, with plans to also open the space to community programs, meetings and events, Schiller said.

“This is still very much, for us and for the community, a community space,” he said.

The facility renovation and expansion cost about $5 million, which was funded by the organization’s benefactor, the Kellogg Family Foundation. We Energies also awarded PEAK a 5-year, $100,000 gift for the project. The organization is still raising funds to complete about $1.5 million in additional upgrades to the park.

Construction on the project was led by Milwaukee-based CG Schmidt, and architectural design was provided by HGA.

PEAK operates day camps and afterschool programming and runs a residential summer camp in Boscobel for youth from Milwaukee. It annually serves roughly 550 enrolled youth, ages 7-18, drawing largely from the 53215, 53204, 53209, 53206 and 53205 zip codes. It also opens some camp programming to kids from throughout the community who do not enroll.

PEAK was founded as Lake Valley Camp in 2002 by former Kohl’s chief executive officer Bill Kellogg with philanthropic support from the Kellogg Family Foundation.

The original mission was to provide an opportunity for Milwaukee youth to attend the residential summer camp in Boscobel. In 2019, the organization rebranded as the Kellogg PEAK initiative to reflect its evolution from a summer camp to a year-round social-emotional learning and leadership program.

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